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BLOMEYER & SANZ HAS CONDUCTED A STUDY ON Pilot Projects and Preparatory Action in the EU Budget 2014-2019

In September, the European Parliament published a study on ‘Pilot Projects and Preparatory Action in the EU Budget 2014-2019’. We prepared this study in the first half of 2020, involving extensive desk research, eight case studies of selected Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions (PPPAs) and interviews across the secretariats of 15 Parliament Committees and with the European Commission.

The study identified seven serious constraints, undermining the potential effectiveness of the PPPAs:

  • The setting of priorities for PPPAs is not clear;
  • MEPs often lack capacities for preparing PPPAs, and too many PPPA proposals are affected by quality constraints and are ‘C’- or ‘D’-categorised by the EC in the pre-assessment;
  • PPPAs are being prepared and pre-assessed in the framework of a very tight time schedule;
  • In the context of the preparation of the PPPAs, there is no systematic approach to consultations between MEPs and relevant EC line DGs;
  • There appear to be inconsistencies in the way that different EC line DGs and DG BUDG approach the pre-assessment of PPPAs;
  • The large number of PPPA proposals implies a significant administrative burden on the EP and EC, and quantitative data confirms that the more proposals submitted for pre-assessment in a year, the lower the combined percentage of ‘A’ and ‘B’ proposals; EP feedback on this point emphasises that PPPA expenditure is limited by two sets of ceilings (those specific to PPPAs under the Financial Regulation and those applying to expenditure by heading under the MFF regulation).
  • There is no systematic and efficient approach to data handling, both on the pre-assessments of PPPAs and the subsequently adopted PPPAs.
The study therefore recommends that the EP reflects on the following recommendations and discusses follow-up within the EP and with the EC:

  • Setting clear priorities for PPPAs;
  • Developing the capacities of MEPs to prepare and implement PPPAs;
  • Allowing for more time for the preparation of PPPAs, e.g. by starting the preparation of PPPAs at an earlier stage or moving to a multi-annual approach to PPPAs, only introducing new PPPAs every two or three years;
  • Instead of revisiting the timing of the preparatory process or in combination with this, limiting the number of PPPAs to be prepared / submitted for pre-assessment;
  • Enhancing the approach to preparatory consultations on PPPAs between the EP and EC line DGs;
  • Systematising the approach to the pre-assessment of PPPAs;
  • Enhancing data handling regarding PPPAs.
The full study can be found here.