Interview of Jan Kinst, Member of the European Court of Auditors, on ECA Special Report SR 06/2013: 'Have the Member States and the Commission achieved value for money with the measures for diversifying the rural economy?'
Brussels - International Press Centre
On 17 September 2013, Jan Kinst, Member of the European Court of Auditors, gave an interview on ECA Special Report SR 06/2013 entitled "Have the Member States and the Commission achieved value for money with the measures for diversifying the rural economy?"
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH): You are saying that EU funds for diversifying the rural economy are delivering only limited value for money. Why is that?
||Soundbite by Jan Kinst, Member of the European Court of Auditors (in ENLGLISH): Well, the main conclusion of our audit is that the EU assistance was not systematically channelled to the projects which were most likely to contribute to the two overarching priorities and the diversification measures, it means support for growth and creation of jobs and when we were on the spot, the projects which we audited were rather poor, especially regarding the jobs creation. There are the reasons at the programming level. The Member States did not identify the needs for intervention, they usually set very broad, very hardly measurable and very vague objectives and also the selection system which they set up didn’t promote the selection of the most efficient and effective projects so the chances of good and bad projects to be selected and financed were almost the same. And especially in the first years of the programming period the motivation to select the projects was rather driven by a need to spend the allocated funds than to select the best projects.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH): So, what are you recommending to better diversify the EU’s rural economy then?
||Soundbite by Jan Kinst (in ENLGLISH): Well, in the report we provide a number of very concrete recommendations, but to be brief I would perhaps stress three points:At the level of the Member States in their programming records, they should analyse what are the barriers for the economic development in rural areas and they should identify how the public intervention can assist to overcome these barriers and to support the growth and the jobs in these areas. The Commission itself should approve only the programming documents which are of that quality. Second, the Member States should set up the selection criteria which are sufficiently specific and which are to choose and finance the projects which are efficient and effective and to apply them throughout the whole programming period, regardless whether in some years the budget is available theoretically to finance all eligible projects. And the third, that the Commission and the Member States should promote the adoption of the best practices, to mitigate the key risk for efficiency of the project. It means not to finance the projects which do not need the public support, the projects which can distort the open market or the projects which have unreasonably high costs.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH): But, can all that be done without increasing the red tape?
||Soundbite by Jan Kinst (in ENLGLISH): Yes it can, because it is not about the increase of quantity of work but rather of the quality of work and as we observed in doing our audit the Member States which we audited where the projects were mostly efficient and effective was also the Member State with a relatively low administrative burden and with by far the shortest duration of the applications processing. So there is no direct correlation between effective selection system and bureaucracy or red tape as you mentioned, it’s rather the opposite.