Brussels, 30 November 2009
Commissioner Samecki addresses major conference on evaluation of EU cohesion policy (30 November)
Pawe ł Samecki, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy , will call for a stronger focus on objectives, performance and results when he addresses the sixth European conference on evaluation of the EU cohesion policy in Warsaw on Monday (30 November). Organised by the European Commission at the invitation of the Polish Minister for Regional Development, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the event will discuss new methods for assessing the impact and added-value of the policy, which aims to reduce economic disparities and to promote long-term sustainable growth and jobs. Around 500 experts, responsible for evaluating the cohesion policy at national and regional levelin the 27 Member States, will participate in the conference.
Speaking ahead of the event, Commissioner Samecki emphasised the importance of evaluation for ensuring the quality of cohesion policy projects: "Letting the public know what is actually achieved thanks to the use of taxpayers' money is a cornerstone of democratic accountability. We are serious about promoting the rigorous evaluation - both quantitative and qualitative - of European cohesion policy. It is a shared task for the Commission, Member States and regions. This conference is an excellent opportunity to reinforce this joint commitment to get the right methods to capture the impact of this policy's investment in thousands of projects across the EU.”
Promoting accountability and learning
The EU’s cohesion policy will invest €347 billion between 2007 and 2013, through three funds - the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Social Fund . This money co-finances essential investments in infrastructure, innovation and people's skills. All regions get a share of the funding available, with more than 80% of the money dedicated to the least prosperous areas.
The aim of the conference is to encourage Member State authorities to use more rigorous evaluation methods to verify if the policy delivers clear and measurable results.
Over the course of the two-day conference (30 November-1 December) a series of workshops will seek answers to some of the key questions at the heart of the evaluation debate:
These reflections will feed into the ongoing debate on the future cohesion policy by helping to improve understanding of what works and why. The event will also further promote the learning process on new evaluation methods .
Other high-level participants at the conference include Danuta Hübner, chair of the European Parliament’s Regional Development Committee, Professor Murray Saunders, President of the European Evaluation Society, and Dr Fabrizio Barca of the Italian Ministry of Finance and Economy, author of " An agenda for a Reformed Cohesion Policy", published in April this year ( ).
Cohesion policy programmes are managed and implemented by national and regional authorities. The European Commission is responsible for the evaluation following project completion. Member State and regional managing authorities are responsible for ongoing evaluation during the programming period (2007-2013).