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European Commission

AID TRANSPARENCY ANALYSIS

The 2013 ATI assessed the transparency of four departments of the European Commission (EC): DG Enlargement, EuropeAid Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO), DG Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI).

While DG DEVCO is considered to be the main implementing agency for EU external assistance, accounting for 75% of the EC’s ODA, substantial flows and activities are managed by other departments. Smaller amounts of the EU’s external assistance flow through a number of other Directorates-General such as Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN), Education and Culture (EAC) and Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO).[1] The EC coordinates with the European External Action Service (EEAS) on external and development policy. The profiles for DG DEVCO, ECHO, DG Enlargement and FPI are found on the following pages. The other EU institution covered in the Index is the European Investment Bank.

The EC should be congratulated for rolling out IATI implementation across the main aid-spending departments, following DG DEVCO’s initial publication in October 2011. DG Enlargement, ECHO and FPI all published to the IATI standard in July 2013. The Commission is an original signatory to IATI and has played an active role in the development of the standard and its incorporation within the Busan common standard. It plays an important role within the EU on aid transparency, providing advice to Member States on fulfilling their commitments to the Busan common standard, of which IATI is a core component, and internationally within the framework of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

The European Commission and EU Member States have committed to the EU Transparency Guarantee with the aim of disclosing all information on aid programmes in a common standard format so that it can be more easily accessed, shared and published. The EC is responsible for publishing the annual EU Accountability Report on Financing for Development, which monitors EU progress on a wide range of commitments on aid quantity and quality – including aid effectiveness and transparency – and provides the basis for further EU action. The 2013 Accountability Report refers to the 2012 Aid Transparency Index and analysis of implementation schedules. The EC intends to collate and visualise its IATI data through the TR-AID portal, run by the Joint Research Centre.

The four EC departments are all placed in the fair category, reflecting their significant investments in transparency over the past year. Only six percentage points separate the highest performer, ECHO (ranked 12th), from the lowest, DG Enlargement (ranked 17th). DG DEVCO, FPI and DG Enlargement score similarly on many indicators, reflecting a degree of shared information systems. Only ECHO publishes actual dates, forward budgets and tied aid status in its IATI data and scores on the survey for accessibility of its portal and the provision of objectives and impact appraisals. DG DEVCO leads on the provision of sub-national location data.

While substantial information on assistance provided by these EC departments is published in action or project fiches, much of this information is aggregated at the programme or sector level and does not include comprehensive information on individual projects.  No EC departments systematically publish budget documents, results or conditions for individual activities, nor do they consistently publish MoUs with partner countries.

 


[1] For a more complete picture, see the Annual Report 2012 on the European Community’s Development and External Assistance Policies and their Implementation in 2011.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The EC should continue to champion improved aid transparency in international fora and within the EU, in particular by supporting EU Member States in publishing to IATI by 2015.
  • The EC should continue to strengthen the transparency of its external assistance by ensuring that all departments managing EU external funding publish to IATI. The EC should take steps to promote publication to IATI among implementing partners of EC aid.
  • The EC should actively use its IATI data in its programming and coordination processes and promote the use of this information by others via an open data portal.

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