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The management of external aid, rather effective, says the Court of Auditors

(BRUSSELS2) The latest report from the Court of Auditors devoted to external aid is rather positive on the system aimed at giving more autonomy to the delegations of the European Commission (now delegations of the European Union). It's rare enough not to be reported...

The speed of aid deployment has increased

Decided in 2000, the reform of the management of external aid (“devolution”) was implemented in 111 partner country delegations between 2002 and 2004. In 2009, 80% of European aid (8,44 billion euros) was thus distributed in a decentralized manner. This deconcentration “contributed to improving interventions” is the opinion of the Court of Auditors. “The speed of aid deployment has increased and financial management procedures are more efficient. Moreover, there are indications that the quality of aid is now better, even if the systems used by the Commission to measure this aspect are not sufficiently developed to allow informed conclusions to be drawn.. "

Difficulty recruiting, vacant positions, high turnover... complicate the task

Among the points of weakness, the auditors particularly noted a human resources problem. Around 1 in 6 positions (14%) was vacant at the end of 2009, a fact due to “difficulty in recruiting contract staff with the right skills, especially to work in countries with difficult situations“. Another concern, the high turnover of staff at DG EuropAid – which can be explained by a high rate of contract workers (40%) hired on non-renewable 3-year contracts – “does not provide effective central support, and compromises historical records and operational efficiency“. Finally, the workload of delegations has increased, due to the number of sectors in which they are involved. And the redeployment of positions decided since 2005 to give increased priority to the development of political and commercial functions does not facilitate the management of aid. A trend that is not ready to stop. On the contrary, it should increase with the rise in power of the diplomatic service (EEAS).

Download the report on the website of the Court of Auditors

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).