Image for post
Image for post
Example of an ECA press release on one of its opinions (Opinion 6/2020 published in September 2020), referring to the added value of an EU programme recently set up

Adding value and performance are concepts that regularly intertwine in budget discussions and represent a key reason why public audit institutions come into play. Gabriele Cipriani worked for over 40 years at the ECA, including many years as an audit director. He has also written several publications on the EU budget. In his contribution he analyses why achieving European added value is a condition sine qua non for the Union as a whole. But how does this concept relate to the audits carried out by the ECA? …


Image for post
Image for post
Source: IQoncept/shutterstock

When talking about European added value, some people think mainly of net balances and adding and subtracting budgetary flows. While there are several arguments for looking at European added value from a wider perspective, there is also some merit in looking closer at the premises and logic underlying these net balance figures, which serve as important ingredients in a ‘zero-sum game’ approach. Lars Michael Luplow, Assistant to the Director in the Directorate of the Presidency, does that for the revenue part of the EU budget calculations, a side often considered as set in stone and rather technical when assessing the…


Image for post
Image for post
Source: by-studio-shutterstock

European Added Value (EAV) has been a theme running through the ECA’s outputs for many years. For over a decade, it has figured prominently in a range of ECA outputs and successive ECA strategies. For good reason: the concept of EAV is an attempt to distil the essence of the European Union, namely as a means to achieve what cannot be achieved by Member States acting alone. …


Image for post
Image for post
Source: BrunoRosa/shutterstock

EU added value (EAV) is a multifaceted term and is used for many purposes and in different contexts. Reaching agreement on how to define EAV and its use is one thing, applying the concept in day-to-day auditing practice is another matter. What does EAV mean for public auditors at the ECA? And how should they apply it to their audits? Wilfred Aquilina from the Directorate for Audit Quality Control (DQC) is one of the authors of the methodological guidance on EAV that DQC developed two years ago. …


Image for post
Image for post
Fundamental research at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). D-VISIONS-shutterstock

The negotiations for the 2021–2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) are in their final phase and, for EU research and education funding, the signs are not looking too good, with a number of cuts planned in this area. This is reason enough for three presidents of national associations of universities — Peter-André Alt (Germany), Pieter Duisenberg (Netherlands) and Sabine Seidler (Austria) — to appeal to national and EU policy makers. They speak about the key chance to invest in European higher education and research, highlighting the aspects of European added value, and arguing that EU funding for higher education and research…


Image for post
Image for post
Lakeside Science &Technology Park with the Wörthersee, one of Carinthia’s most popular lakes, in the background. Source: ©Lakeside Park|G.Steinthaler.

The EU is not only a Union of Member States but also of regions, of municipalities, and of its citizens. Regional and local governments often play an important role in making sure that citizens and companies know about the various possibilities offered by the EU. Johannes Maier has been the EU Coordinator for the State of Carinthia for a number of years now. He is also a member of the ‘Subsidiarity Expert Group’ of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), a body whose slogan is ‘Europe closer to people.’ …


Image for post
Image for post
Source: Fit Ztudio/Shutterstock

Adding value at EU level requires initiatives and taking risks, certainly in the rapidly changing digital age we are experiencing today. New technologies have the potential to create completely new possibilities and benefits for citizens and businesses across Member States, and to add value in an innovative way. One of these technologies is 5G, a topic on which the ECA recently started an audit assessing EU action to address 5G network security concerns. Proper use of this innovative technology can trigger new cooperation initiatives, as shown by the Prague-Munich 5G corridor. …


For EU citizens one of the most visible examples of EU added value may well be the means they use, often on a daily basis, to get to work, to travel, to get goods and services delivered in the EU’s internal market: the physical infrastructure we use, often also co-financed by the EU. While for some this may trigger the thought of an occasional road to nowhere financed with EU funds, many will gladly use the numerous network corridors within regions and between regions and Member States, created thanks in part to EU initiatives. …


Image for post
Image for post
Source: European Commission

Together EU Member States can achieve more than what is possible at the national, regional or local levels alone. This is what European added value is about. Research and innovation is an area where cooperation and building on each other’s efforts seems to be a sine qua non for results that matter. Jean-Eric Paquet is Director General for Research & Innovation in the European Commission. He argues that the idea of European added value has been driving European investments in research and innovation for over 35 years, through the successive EU Research & Innovation (Framework) Programmes. …


Image for post
Image for post

Within the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Budget is at the cross roads between money and performance. It not only deals with the resources that fuel the budget, but also promotes and funnels the growing attention paid to the performance of EU policies and programmes. Gert Jan Koopman is the Director-General for Budget and knows the ins and outs of the EU budgetary process. Below he explains what measures the Commission is currently taking to maximise the added value of EU policies and spending and also gives an outlook on the way forward.

By Gert Jan Koopman, Director-General for Budget…

European Court of Auditors

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store