On 3 November 2020, French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Hélène Laporte of the Identity and Democracy Group, tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“In Chapter 22 02 ‘Enlargement process and strategy’ of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020, the multi-country line for EUR 640 654 100 does not contain a breakdown of beneficiary countries.
The new nomenclature of the 2021 budget addresses this issue and names the beneficiaries under this budget line.
1. Can the Commission provide a breakdown of the beneficiary countries under budget lines 22 02 04 01, 22 02 04 02 and 22 02 04 03 for 2020?
2. Can the Commission justify the creation of budget lines per beneficiary country and of multi-country lines in the same sub-chapter?
3. Does the creation of multi-country lines not run counter to the Commission’s declared desire for greater transparency?”
On 21 December, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi, responded on behalf of the European Commission reporting:
“There is no split of the commitments done in 2020 per beneficiary country for Chapter 22 02. As per 2020 budgetary remarks, these appropriations are intended to cover the financing of regional and multi-beneficiary programmes under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) II.
IPA III (currently discussed in trilogues with the co-legislators) is built on a thematic rather than country-by-country division, which is reflected by the nomenclature proposed by the Commission.
Rather than having predefined allocations per country or multi-country budget lines, this approach provides the incentive for countries to apply for funds based on performance related criteria and the relevance and maturity of projects proposed by them and places these considerations at the centre of programming decisions.
For IPA III, the Commission proposed to establish thematic windows as the main reference point for programming, replacing pre-defined country envelopes in the programming framework. This would provide a strong incentive to the beneficiaries to submit for funding actions, which are stronger in terms of policy relevance and more mature in terms of time required to implement the proposed action.
The IPA III thematic windows would include all types of activities, whether they are bilateral or multi-country. To respect the new thematic approach, the multi-country programmes are included in the two ‘core’ budget lines.
This would provide more transparency, coherence in terms of programming, better synergies between country and multi-country programmes, and allow a more holistic monitoring of results in the different policy areas.”
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