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Performance of EU Covid fund ‘cannot be measured’

Auditors decry “weaknesses in monitoring system” for €723 billion fund investing in areas including research

It is impossible to evaluate the performance of the EU’s €723 billion Covid-19 recovery fund, auditors have complained.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility is financing investments and reforms in the EU member states, in areas including research but with a particular focus on environmental sustainability and digitisation.

Having looked into the progress of the RRF between its launch in February 2021 and December 2022, the European Court of Auditors concluded that the overall performance “cannot be adequately measured” due to “weaknesses in its monitoring system”.

“We are in a paradoxical situation, where for the EU’s largest fund that is claimed to be performance-based, we can measure progress but not performance itself,” Ivana Maletić, the ECA member in charge of the investigation, said on 24 October.

Information on the performance of the RRF is “limited and largely based on estimates” and does not refer “explicitly to impact”, the investigation report says.

Fourteen indicators are used to measure the success of the fund, including counts of numbers of researchers and students in each country.

In a response to the report, the Commission said that member states were responsible for providing data on the indicators but that it had “provided extensive guidance to national authorities and stands ready to further support member states in complying with their reporting obligations”.

Nonetheless, it accepted some of the auditors’ recommendations, such as improving the presentation of data displayed on an online scoreboard of progress.