EUROSAI. Magazine N26 - 2021

EUROSAI 70 Information on EU Annual report on the activities funded by the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th European Development Funds for the 2020 financial year The European Development Funds (EDFs) were the main instrument by which the EU provided development cooperation aid to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and overseas countries and territories (OCTs) until the end of 2020. The partnership agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 for a period of 20 years (‘the Cotonou Agreement’) was the framework governing the EU’s relations with ACP countries and OCTs. Its primary objective was to reduce and ultimately eradicate poverty. For the 2021-2027 MFF, development cooperation aid to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific is integrated into the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI/ Global Europe) and development cooperation aid to OCT is integrated into the Overseas Association Decision. However, the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th EDFs will not be integrated into the EU general budget and will continue to be implemented and reported on separately until their closure. For 2020, expenditure subject to audit in this area was €4.0 billion. This expenditure relates to the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th EDFs. As for the reliability of the EDFs’ accounts, the ECA concluded that the 2020 accounts were not affected by material misstatements, and that the revenue of the EDFs did not contain a material level of error. However, expenditure for the 2020 financial year was affected by material error, with an estimated most likely level of error of 3.8 % (2019: 3.5 %). The ECA’s opinion on expenditure for the 2020 financial year is therefore adverse. Report on the performance of the EU budget – status at the end of 2020 In addition, on 15 November 2021, the ECA published its Report on the performance of the EU budget, covering the performance of spending programmes under the EU budget as at the end of 2020. TheECAexamined the results achievedbyEUspending programmes financed from the EU budget, based on performance information from the Commission and other sources, including its own recent audit and review work. It also assessed whether and how the Commission and the co-legislators have used the lessons learnt from previous MFF periods (e.g. from evaluations, impact assessments and audits) to improve the design and performance of spending programmes for the 2021-2027 period. Although some of the spendingprogrammes examined were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, in some the available information shows that there has been progress in their performance. The auditors give a fairly positive assessment of the European Commission’s (and the co-legislators’) ability to use lessons learned from the past implementation of programmes to improve the design and performance of spending programmes for the 2021-2027 period. However, the Commission needs to improve the use of impact assessments and follow-up actions arising from evaluations. The annual reports on the implementation of the 2020 EU budget and European Development Funds, the report on the performance of the EU budget, as well as related information material, are available on the ECA’s website. © 2019, Simon Schmitt. Architects of the ECA's buildings: Paul Noël (K1 building, 1988) and Jim Clemes (K2 building, 2004, K3 building, 2013)