EU Auditors say rural development process too complex14/11/17Government
A new process for planning EU rural development spending is too long and complex, with shortcomings that hinder both performance and results, according to a report.
EU rural development policy aims to make agriculture more competitive, ensure the sustainable management of natural resources and achieve balanced development of rural economies and communities.
The EU plans to spend nearly €100bn on rural development over the period 2014 to 2020.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development provides financial support for measures carried out by the member states through national or regional Rural Development Programmes, which are prepared by the member states and approved by the European Commission.
Janusz Wojciechowski, member of the European Court of Auditors, said: “Planning for a new period always faces the problem of starting before adequate, relevant data are available from previous periods.”
The auditors examined whether the new EU strategic framework for 2014‐2020 reflected a greater focus on performance and whether the new process resulted in good quality Rural Development Programmes which would lead to better results.
They also looked at programming for rural development policy to check whether it allowed Rural Development Programmes to be implemented earlier and thus avoid the negative consequences of delays.
To improve the process, the auditors recommend that the commission should ensure its proposals help develop consistency between individual programmes and simplify the number of requirements, along with other recommendations such as working with member states to ensure information is clear and comprehensive.
The auditors also recommend that European institutions should consider aligning the long-term strategy with the EU budget cycle and conduct a comprehensive spending review before a new long-term budget is set.