Ex Post Evaluation of the ERDF in Objectives 1 & 2 (2000-2006)

Work Package 11: Management and implementation

The objectives of this evaluation were:

  • In the EU10, to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of management and implementation systems as well as spill over effects on the overall institutional and administrative culture in these countries;
  • In the EU15, to examine the added value of cohesion policy management and implementation systems in comparison to national and regional systems; and
  • To examine the extent to which management and implementation systems support the integration of sustainable development in cohesion policy programmes across the EU.

The eleventh work package assesses the quality of Cohesion policy management and implementation systems across the EU, with a particular focus on the EU10. The following processes were examined: programme design, financial management, project generation, appraisal and selection, monitoring, reporting, evaluation and partnership.

Main findings:

  • The EU10 successfully put in place management and implementation systems to draw down the EU resources available and to comply with the regulatory framework. However, the combination of demanding regulatory requirements and deficiencies in administrative and institutional capacities led to over-complexity and rigidity of the systems at the expense of their strategic orientation. The systems are still on a learning curve.
  • Cohesion policy management and implementation systems in the EU15 are efficient but not significantly focussed on performance. Regulatory compliance and maintaining the pace of spending dominated programme management activity. The systems had positive spillover effects on domestic management practice. Their influence was strongest when driven by committed 'policy entrepreneurs' and where the status and weight of Cohesion policy relative to domestic policies was significant.
  • Cohesion policy management and implementation systems can deliver sustainable development. An overall trend evolved from environmental inclusion towards a broader three-dimensional approach. A momentum for integrating sustainable development was initiated and good practice examples exist in some Member States.

Main lessons learned:

  • Cohesion policy suffers from a lack of effective 'policy management'. There is a need to better redress the balance between compliance and performance with a stronger focus on delivering the strategic objectives.
  • The scope for improving the Cohesion policy management and implementation systems is not simply a matter of experience with managing the policy but also depends on the quality of the broader public administration in Member States, at the national and regional level.
  • Promoting better governance, investing in institutional capacity, embedding a 'learning reflex' within administrations and strengthening leadership in the policy field should be the priority actions aimed to improve the quality and performance orientation of Cohesion policy management and implementation systems.


  • Executive summary pdf en en en
  • Terms of Reference pdf en
  • Inception report pdf en
  • Preliminary report pdf en
    • Summary report pdf en
    • National Overviews: zip part I en - part II en
  • Final report pdf en
    • EU10 National Assessment Reports + Comparative Report zip en
    • EU15 Case Studies and Comparative Report zip en
    • Mini Case Studies zip en
    • Sustainable Development Case Studies and Comparative Report zip en

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