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The Role of Evaluation in Cohesion Policy

May 2020, 

The European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development (REGI) just published a study assessing the role of evaluation in Cohesion Policy prepared by CSIL.

Over the years, the European Commission has established an ambitious framework for evaluating Cohesion Policy with the aim of raising quality standards and harmonising practices and approaches. This framework comprises rules enshrined in regulations, guidance documents and a series of soft support instruments providing methodological and operational indications. The study looks at how effective is this framework in achieving the multiple objectives assigned to Cohesion Policy and documents advancements at EU level. The research shows that the findings from ex-post evaluations are feeding into the policy process EU level even if this needs to be more systematic and generalised. 

This study comes at a critical juncture when the Cohesion Policy’s post-2020 budget is likely to be reduced, and the regulations defining the basis of the policy are still being negotiated. In this context, the study invites the European Parliament to adopt a more proactive approach to promote Cohesion Policy evaluation. It is ideally placed to advance policy dialogue around key political issues at the EU level by using evidence from evaluations, among other sources. 

The study is available online, with the executive summary translated in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

We would like to thank the country experts who contributed to the study: Neringa ViršilienÄ—  (ESTEP), Tomasz Kupiec and Alena Olechnicka (EUROREG), Diana IONESCU, as well as the Scientific Advisers Nicola Francesco Dotti  (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Massimo Florio (University of Milan).