Tuesday

25th Jul 2017

MEPs worried about EU development spending

  • Development money is not always spent efficiently (Photo: Andrew Willis)

MEPs want the EU to keep a closer eye on the money it spends on joint EU/UN development projects after major shortcomings were identified in control and efficiency.

In comments to be attached to the draft discharge of the EU's 2010 accounts, to be voted on in the European Parliament in March next year, German centre-right MEP Ingeborg Graessle on Tuesday (29 November) said she is "concerned about the weaknesses identified with regard to the efficiency of projects" and "deeply concerned about the fact that reporting still remains inadequate."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She calls on the commission to implement "adequate checks on the effectiveness and efficiency of projects" as well as "adequate control measures."

The commission spends roughly 10 percent of its annual €10 billion development budget on projects run by UN staff on the ground, mostly in dangerous places. "We don’t have our own experts everywhere," explained Catherine Ray, spokesperson for EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

For the evaluation of those projects, the commission relies heavily on information from the UN, but "a large proportion of reports are delayed, not detailed enough and focus on activities rather than results", according to a report of the European Court of Auditors, published in May.

One example is a capacity-building project for the new administration of Southern Sudan, where the court says 65 percent of the expenditure in the final report was declared as "previous expenditure" without providing any further explanations on the nature or content of the costs involved.

The projects themselves are badly designed, the court concluded, with 18 of 19 sample projects showing one or more "weaknesses" such as unspecific objectives or unrealistic timelines.

As a result, they often fall short of what they are meant to achieve. A mine-clearing project in Afghanistan, for example, only managed to clear an area of 1.6 square km of a projected 26.6 square km.

"The problem is recurrent and we hope that it will be solved,”"said Karel Pinxten, Belgian member of the court and rapporteur of the report.

The commission, for its part, says it is already working to solve the problem. In 2010 it agreed on a new set of reporting guidelines with the UN.

"For us, it remains the best way to reach the people," said Ray, on co-operation with the UN. "Development aid is not a scientific business."

Dwindling EU development aid spent on deporting refugees, museum gift shops

As the economic crisis pinches national budgets, EU member state funds set aside for development are dwindling and increasingly being used instead as channels for public cash for domestic companies and promoting national vested interests rather than poverty reduction in the poorest of countries.

Europe entering age of 'aid austerity'

EU countries have been asked not to use the economic crisis to justify cutting aid, as donations drop for the first time in 14 years.

Opinion

Stronger EU-Egypt ties must not disregard human rights

The EU’s apparent willingness to water down its stance on human rights in Egypt could seriously compromise its credibility and have far-reaching consequences for its relations with other countries in the region.

Juncker: Death penalty will end Turkey's EU bid

Turkish president Erdogan said he would reinstate capital punishment, for people behind last year's failed military coup. But European Commission president Juncker says the move would end Turkey's bid to join the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Wallonia's Magnette leaves national politics
  2. Polish president vetoes justice reforms
  3. Turkey arrests protesters, as journalists go to trial
  4. Poll: Only 24% of Germans want 'strong leader'
  5. US envoy: 'hot war' not frozen conflict in Ukraine
  6. BMW denies Dieselgate cartel allegations
  7. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  8. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School