Crisis forces efficiency in Cohesion planning

  • 2013-07-10
  • From wire reports

LONG WAIT: Experts focused on social issues including the high unemployment in Europe.

VILNIUS - Last Friday was the closing day for an international conference where Lithuanian and foreign experts discussed preparation for the 2014-2020 EU Cohesion policy, with the priority to be directed at programming and evaluation, reports ELTA. The conference was organized by Lithuania’s Ministry of Finance and the European Commission.

“Cohesion policy is of key importance for the sustainable development of the European Union’s economy. However, the tight financial resources require not only the greater efficiency of expenditures, but also a new approach towards programming and evaluation. These topics were discussed in-depth at the conference,” said Minister of Finance Rimantas Sadzius.

“The EU needs a more effective and more strategic use of cohesion policy funds. We must draw lessons from the past and improve what can be improved. The common denominator of this effort is a focus on results. Evaluation plays a key role to inform on decisions and to demonstrate the impact,” European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Laszlo Andor said.

During the first day of the conference experts from Lithuania and abroad discussed a new approach and requirements by the European Commission in the areas of intervention logic, development and implementation of programs, with a results-based management emphasis. The results and challenges of ex-ante evaluations of operational programs for the upcoming period were discussed as well.
In the new period of EU Cohesion, policy will be aimed at greater efficiency results and attention to the priorities of the Europe 2020 Strategy, which includes employment, R&D, climate change and energy sustainability, education, the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

With the view to ensure greater efficiency, ex-ante evaluations of operational programs 2014-2020 focus not only on the tasks that are typical for such an evaluation (for instance, evaluation of the relevance of priorities and their compatibility with key strategic documents, or measurement of administrative resources), but also on the relevance and adequacy of program indicators and evaluation systems.

During the conference’s second day most of the attention was given to the European Social Fund and its role in the fight against unemployment in Europe, and the rise in the risk of exclusion of certain social groups. The participants of the conference discussed how to evaluate the efficiency in the investments of the Fund, to use innovative measures and closer links with other funds.

This conference was the opening event by the Ministry of Finance related to the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Nearly 200 participants from Lithuania and 25 foreign countries, including representatives of the Lithuanian and the European Commission authorities, academic society, evaluators, and other guests interested in the issues of the EU Structural Funds programming, monitoring and evaluation took part.
This was the fifth conference on the EU Structural Funds Evaluation organized by the Ministry of Finance in Lithuania, with the first held in 2005.