Carolyn Moser, one of the two 2020 ECA Award winners. Source: Carolyn Moser.

2020 ECA Award winner

Carolyn Moser is one of the two winners of the 2020 ECA Award, with EU added value as the theme, for her book Accountability in EU Security and Defence — The Law and Practice of Peacebuilding. In her book she looks closely at the accountability framework in EU security and defence policy, an area for which intergovernmental cooperation is key. Her research shows that through coordinated and coherent decision-making the EU could grow as a substantial player in peacebuilding activities, thereby providing added value at EU level. Carolyn Moser has trained in both law and political…


Source: Unsplash

Greening the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is one of the slogans of the EU’s shift towards a more sustainable form of agriculture, and has been for more than a decade. The Commission’s current ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy is the most recent initiative to green the entire food system, including agriculture. This reform, as initially proposed, had the potential to achieve the kind of value that actions at the level of individual Member States could not achieve. However, the outcome of the negotiations on the Commission’s legislative proposals for the 2021–2027 period seem to punch a lot lower than originally intended…


Antoine Dumartinet

2020 ECA Award winner

Antoine Dumartinet is one of the two ex aequo winners of the 2020 ECA Award. His paper discusses the use of the EU added value concept during the negotiations on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), particularly in relation to EU policies such as agriculture and cohesion under shared management. Antoine Dumartinet currently works as an expert for the German agency for technical cooperation — Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ — at the Serbian Ministry of European Integration. Below, he provides the main aspects covered in his award winning contribution.

By Antoine Dumartinet, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit — GIZ…


Dutch Central Banker Klaas Knot’s agenda for a stronger currency union

Source: Peterschreiber.media/Shutterstock

The euro is one of the key results — and symbols — of cooperation between Member States in the European Union. Sharing a single currency can maximise economic efficiency. At the same time, for economies with low productivity growth, the euro can be a relative burden. Ultimately, diverging economies can even undermine public support for a common currency. So what does that say about the euro as the epitome of EU added value? Klaas Knot, President of De Nederlandsche Bank — the Dutch Central Bank — puts forward a number of advantages of the euro but also pleads for measures…


Street Art in Lisbon (22 April 2018). Source: Vernaccia

The EU spends almost €12 billion per year (2018 figures) outside the EU, mainly for economic cooperation and development aid, under the heading ‘Global Europe’ and through the European Development Funds (EDF). This corresponds to around 9.5% of the EU budget (including EDF expenditure). Spending this money, however, is subject to several conditions being met. But can we still speak about aid in view of these ‘conditionalities’, and who is helped by it: the recipient or the donor? Sven van Mourik is a doctoral student in history at New York University, researching Afro-European relations in the late 20th century and…


Source: Alexandros Michailidis/shutterstock

Several countries outside the European Union have cooperation agreements with the EU that integrate them more or less into European projects of their choice. One of the ‘third’ countries most integrated into EU activities and EU regulations is Norway. What motivates the Norwegians — whose country would easily qualify for EU membership in all respects — to opt for very far-reaching cooperation, while choosing not to have a full say in all the rules and regulations that such cooperation involves? Pernille Rieker is Research Professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, specialised in European integration and European foreign and…


Source: European Commission

The more ambitious the project, the bigger the stakes. In the case of large infrastructure projects, there are often significant investments to be made. And once started, there seems to be no way back. All the more important, therefore, to assess costs and benefits upfront. In particular for cross-border infrastructure, there is also the aspect of European added value to evaluate. This was done by Urmet Lee, Director, and Jüri Kurss, Senior Advisor, both working in the National Audit Office of Estonia, with input from the audit teams from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, who actually conducted the joint audit project…


The high-level group on own resources (HLGOR), chaired by Mario Monti, pictured above, former Italian Prime Minister and EU Commissioner, has challenged the ‘juste retour’ principle, pleading for a wider perspective on the costs and benefits of EU membership. Source: Council of the European Union.

Many capitals in EU Member States will agree that there are tangible benefits related to their membership of the European Union. But during budget negotiations the focus, at least in the public debate, often switches to the cost of EU membership. Marti Pilati is Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC), working mainly on economic and regional policy issues and the EU budget. Below she discusses which aspects of EU Membership might not be given enough consideration during the negotiations on the EU’s multiannual financial framework, as well as the limitations of the ‘juste retour’ approach, and suggests possible…


Source: l.v.l / Shutterstock

While some want to bring government ‘home’ to their Member State, others have pleaded for more European action to tackle transnational issues, arguing for a unified rather than a cooperative approach. Such issues vary from EU measures addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and tackling climate change to strengthening the Union’s single market and competitiveness, or enhancing the EU’s powers on the rule of law and tackling organised crime. Sandro Gozi belongs to the second group. He is Italian, but was elected Member of the European Parliament in France. For many years, he has been pleading for more transnational EU policies, including…


How one appreciates European added value may well depend on where one stands. For many public audit institutions, a major starting point for assessing a policy is its performance: how effective was it in reaching its goals and to what extent was it implemented efficiently and economically? Looking at EU added value from a wider angle may lead to the conclusion that there are more than two sides to the coin, revealing different insights on net budgetary benefits and costs. …

European Court of Auditors

Articles from the European Court of Auditors, #EU's external auditor & independent guardian of the EU's finances.

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