Changes in the centrally managed EU/EC assistance I.

The European Commission is committed to guarantee full transparency on the beneficiaries of funds – in line with the requirements of Article 35 of the Financial Regulations – regardless to the beneficiaries’ status. Two main sources of ‘EU money’ (those of the statistics) are the general EU (EC) budget and the European Development Fund.

Data available on the EU’s official website (financial transparency system, FTS) help us compare the size of ‘assistance’ committed to various countries (actually disbursed amounts can be found in the annual Financial Reports). Hereby, assistance is understood very broadly and contains all grants (and public procurements) that was or has been managed by the EU/EC. In addition to the official development assistance (ODA, channeled to developing countries), the term (‘assistance’) also covers grants channeled to beneficiaries within and outside the borders of the EU. There are three basic methods (channels) of implementation of external assistance: (i) centralized implementation (managed by EU authorities), (ii) decentralized implementation (by authorities in the recipient country) and (iii) joint management of funds in collaboration with an international organization. Taking a closer look at the first (i) category, the following data is available via FTS for the period 2007-2012 (data for 2013 will be available in the middle of 2014):

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The picture is far from being complete, but the number of projects managed by the EU/EC seem to have decreased significantly from 2010 to 2011, and further down to 2012 in all countries except for Israel and the PNA; even in these two cases their number decreased by ca 25% in 2012. The concentration of the money seems to have increased, especially in Egypt and Tunisia: while the number of projects (beneficiaries) decreased dramatically from 2010 to 2012 (from 129 to 26 in Egypt, 88 to 17 in Tunisia), the amount committed has remained the same (160-180 million euro/year in Egypt and ca 70 million/year in Tunisia). Jordan, Lebanon and the PNA seem to have received less both in financial terms and in terms of the number of beneficiaries between 2010 and 2012 (at least via this channel).

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