Performance auditing in EU cohesion policy: what do we know and what should we know?


Damen, M. and Groenendijk, N.S. (2012) Performance auditing in EU cohesion policy: what do we know and what should we know? In: 9th Biennial Conference European Community Studies Association - Canada (ECSA-C), April 27-28, 2012.

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Abstract:Recently, the European Commission has put forward proposals for the next program period of EU Cohesion Policy (EUCP). Part of these proposals is an increased emphasis on performance management. This paper analyses what we know so far on performance management of EU cohesion funds. It will be argued that, despite the frequent use of terms like “sound financial management” and “value-for-money”, which implies the availability of information on all so called three E’s (economy, efficiency and effectiveness), performance auditing so far is largely limited to issues of economy. This is due to the EU’s preoccupation -in budgetary control-­ with the issue of legality and with irregularities, which link easily to compliance auditing and the issue of economy, but hardly to efficiency and effectiveness (performance auditing). The empirical paragraph of this paper analyses the reports issued by actors on both the European and national (in casu Dutch) level in 2010 and shows that on average 68% of the content of the reports focuses on compliance auditing, instead of performance auditing (32%). Within the share of performance auditing, most attention is paid to output and outcome of the policy concerned (respectively with 12% and 17%); hardly any attention is given to input and costs (with respectively 2% and 1%). This shows that performance auditing still is not in the centre of attention in EUCP and a shift has to be made to really properly account for EUCP.
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Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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