The implementation of the provisions in relation to the ex ante conditionalities during the programming phase of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds
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The study reviews the implementation of the ex-ante conditionalities that were introduced in the Regulations of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds and were assessed through the Partnership Agreements and Operational Programmes developed to deliver those funds. The research findings highlight the value of ex-ante conditionalities, in encouraging the fulfilment of EU regulatory requirements faster than might have been the case in their absence and reinforcing effectiveness through associated strategies in the policy areas supported by ESI Funds. The process has also allowed the Commission to engage in a dialogue with Member States, resulting in an improved understanding of the situation in the Member States. However, in some of the ‘older’ EU-15 Member States, the added value was perceived to be limited and the process of assuring the conditionalities attracted some criticism for being disproportionate to the benefits. Timing, costs and the extent of actions required to fulfil some of the conditionalities have generally exceeded the original estimates or required more resources than was envisaged, by both the Commission and Member States.
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