Brussels, 28 June 2006
Communication "evaluation of EU policies on
freedom, security and justice"
Rationale for the Communication
The Commission considers that the time has come to establish a coherent and
comprehensive evaluation mechanism at EU level of all Justice, Freedom and
Security policies for three reasons:
- The Hague Programme indicates that “evaluation of the implementation
as well as of the effects of all measures is, in the European Council's opinion,
essential to the effectiveness of Union action”. The Action Plan
implementing The Hague Programme gives mandate to the Commission to set out
constitutive elements for the development of an evaluation mechanism at EU
level. One of the aims is to further improve the way policies, programmes and
instruments are designed, by identifying problems and obstacles encountered when
implementing them. Further evaluation can foster learning and exchange of good
practice, as well as greater accountability.
- Existing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in the Freedom, Security and
Justice area are very fragmented. The proposed mechanism would give stakeholders
and decision makers a more comprehensive and operational view of the
achievements and the means to progress. With regards to timing, the proposed
mechanism will also provide relevant information e.g. for considering the
appropriate follow-up to The Hague Programme when it expires in 2009.
- There is a need for extensive information to be transmitted to all the
stakeholders - including the European citizens – on the implementation and
results of the policies. This will increase the political and financial
accountability and scrutiny of policies.
Challenges to be
- Difficult political context: Freedom, security and justice is one of the
European Union’s most diverse policy areas. The objectives to be achieved
encompass some of the most topical issues: free movement of persons, terrorism
and organised crime, police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration
policy, all of this while respecting fundamental rights and promoting the rights
of Union citizens. Often national sovereignty considerations necessitate
compromises at EU level or make implementation difficult. This is further
complicated by a sometimes confusing legal framework, and a mix of
decision-making and compliance procedures.
- Different stages of policy development: As a result of the specific role of
the Commission and the decision-making process in the justice and home affairs
field, the various policies often require different time frames before they can
become fully operational. Sufficient flexibility must be ensured to adjust to
this diversity and the focus of the mechanism should be on immediate results
rather than longer term impacts.
- Wide range of stakeholders to consult and associate to the mechanism:
Besides EU institutions and the Member States, a broad set of stakeholders needs
to be consulted and associated to the setting up of an evaluation mechanism in
the JLS area. This includes civil society, with the non-profit sector but also
the industry being relevant partners (namely through public-private
partnerships); EU agencies such as the European Union Agency for Fundamental
Rights, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA),
Europol, Eurojust or the European Agency for the Management of Operational
Cooperation at the External Borders; national Parliaments; etc. Transparent
consultation mechanisms will be set-up, which can also be used to gather and
cross-check relevant information.
- Availability of statistics and of the necessary analytical capacity is a key
component in the development of an evaluation system. Indeed, statistics will be
required as baseline data to assess whether existing needs are being addressed
and, ultimately, to be able to draw conclusions about the impact of policies.
Improvements should be made in three areas: quality, availability and analysis,
in parallel with setting up the proposed evaluation
Content of the Communication
The Communication proposes the establishment of a JLS strategic evaluation
mechanism in three phases:
- First, it foresees the establishment of a system of information gathering
and sharing. For each area, it would determine the policy objectives and the
main instruments. A set of indicators has been developed and will be
refined in the coming semester.
- Second, it would include a reporting mechanism, consolidating and
analysing in an "evaluation report" the information provided. This report would
be prepared by the Commission in a spirit of partnership with Member States and
the EU institutions.
- Third, targeted evaluations of particular policy areas or
instruments, where necessary, would complete the mechanism.
proposed mechanism will be implemented by the Commission and the Council in full
compliance with their institutional prerogatives and in close association with
the European Parliament.
Features of the proposed mechanism
• Comprehensiveness: The mechanism will be comprehensive and will
encompass all the policies in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice (i.e.
Community policies and Third-Pillar cooperation areas).
• Limited administrative burden: Such a mechanism would build on
current practices and use information resulting from the application of existing
evaluation requirements (e.g. in the case of funding programmes). Also, in other
areas where information is already available, a particular attention will be
paid to make use of existing data and avoiding duplication of work. The
evaluation exercise will be carried out twice every five years, limiting further
the administrative burden.
• Progressive implementation: Following the adoption of the
Communication, it is of utmost importance to trigger a broad discussion and
debate on the evaluation mechanism. To this end, a wide ranging consultation
process will take place, and will feed the first evaluation exercise at the end
of 2007. As a start of that process, a conference will be organised on 26 to 27
October 2006 to communicate on and support the development of the evaluation
mechanism. Another aim of this conference would be to involve stakeholders in
Member States, including civil society, in the process.
Such an evaluation mechanism will aim at making the action taken by the Union
more effective by allowing results on the ground to feedback into policy-making.
Developing evaluation of JLS policies will also contribute to the general EU
objectives of transparency and better regulation.