Executive summary of the Ex post evaluations of major projects in the transport and environmental sectors financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund between 2000 and 2013
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Two evaluations, just completed, analysed the long-term contribution of specific large-scale transport and environmental projects to economic development, quality of life and social well-being. The evaluations have confirmed the importance of EU support to large-scale projects in achieving broader EU and cohesion policy objectives.
By supporting large-scale transport projects, cohesion policy has made a significant contribution to improving connectivity at EU and national level and encouraged the development of sustainable transport. Large -scale environmental infrastructure projects have made a major contribution to compliance with the acquis and broader EU sustainable development strategies. In most cases, the objectives would not have been achieved – or their achievement would have been delayed – in the absence of a critical proportion of EU funding. For both types of project, assistance provided by the EU institutions contributed to the development of administrative capacity and institutional learning, particularly in EU 13 Member States, which joined the EU after 2004.
Project quality at the moment of approval, forecasting capacity, project governance and project management proved to be the main determinants of success of each project and therefore the factors which require the greatest attention. On the other hand, the long-term financial sustainability of EU funded transport projects proved to be a challenge. These lessons will be taken into account when programming the next generation of EU cohesion policy funds, in particular in the areas of environment and transport.
The two evaluations focused on samples of 10 major projects in each area from the 2000-2006 and 2007-2013 programmes. The projects are illustrative of large-scale transport and environment infrastructure projects and deliver insights into the long-term effects of such projects.
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