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«15.1.2015 ARBEITSDOKUMENT zum Sonderbericht Nr. 16/2014 des Europäischen Rechnungshofs (Entlastung 2013): „Wirksamkeit der Kombination von ...»

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zum Sonderbericht Nr. 16/2014 des Europäischen Rechnungshofs

(Entlastung 2013): „Wirksamkeit der Kombination von Finanzhilfen aus

regionalen Investitionsfazilitäten mit von Finanzinstitutionen gewährten

Darlehen (Mischfinanzierung) zur Unterstützung der EU-Außenpolitik“

Haushaltskontrollausschuss Berichterstatter: Igor Šoltes DT\1046078DE.doc PE541.429v02-00 DE DE In Vielfalt geeint Introduction Blending mechanisms combine loans from financial institutions with grants that may take various forms like direct-investment grants, interest-rate subsidies, technical assistance and loan-guarantee schemes. Blending gives grant donors the possibility of leveraging their external cooperation funds by mobilising loans from financial institutions, in particular to address sub-optimal investment situations that do not attract sufficient funding from market sources mainly due to their insufficient profitability, excessive risk profiles and location in indebted countries.

It also allows them to have an impact on the formulation of policies and/or on the way projects are set up and managed. Furthermore, blending loans and grants can promote cooperation between stakeholders in development aid especially through partnership with European financial institutions while enhancing transparency, economies of scale, and the visibility of aid as well as reduction of transaction costs.

Since 2007, the Commission and the Member States have accelerated the use of blending and set up eight regional investment facilities that cover the Commission’s entire sphere of external cooperation. Over the 2007-13 period, the EU allocated 2.106 million euro to such facilities with a disbursement of 1.205 million euro by the Commission by end 2013.

Development-finance institutions identify projects and apply for grants, which are approved by executive bodies of the regional investment facilities comprising the Commission, Member States and other donors. 387 projects were approved by these executive bodies for which the grants amounted 2.346 million euro, the latter being accompanied by loans totalling 22.152 million euro indicating a zero rate default so far.

If the main projects are public investment sectors, there is predominance for the sector transport and energy which receive mostfunding (55%) among the various investment facilities from the main financial institutions1.

It should be noted that the Commission launched the EU Platform for Blending in External Cooperation in December 2012 to improve the quality and efficiency of regional investment facilities, this process of examination is still on-going.

Audit Scope and Objectives The Court assessed the effectiveness of blending the regional investment facility grants with loans from financial institutions to support EU external policies by focusing on the following

two questions:

 Have the regional investment facilities been set up and managed well?

 Did the use of blending yield the intended benefits?

This audit, which was the first by the Court in this particular area, was carried out between May and December 2013 and looked at how the regional investment facilities had performed since their creation. The Court focused its audit on the EU financial allocations and the role of the Commission. The audit work consisted of an analytical review, interviews with Commission staff, a survey of 40 EU delegations (22 of which replied), visits to the four main The four main financial institutions involved in the regional investment facilities from the outset are the EIB, the EBRD, the Agence française de développement (AFD) and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

PE541.429v02-00 2/9 DT\1046078DE.doc DE financial institutions and a detailed examination of a sample of 30 grants awarded to projects (i.e.15 projects that received grants from the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) and 15 projects that had received grants under the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF), these two regional investment facilities represent more than 70 % of the grants approved by the regional investment facilities by the end of 2013). Because of their particular characteristics, the audit also included an examination of eight projects relating to the creation of sub-facilities for financing actions with the involvement of local financial institutions.

Court's Findings and Observations  Have the regional investment facilities been set up and managed well?

The Court assessed whether the regional investment facilities, the procedural framework and the procedure for assessing grants applications and their implementation and the monitoring of projects have been set up in an appropriate manner.

The Court found that that the Member States and the Commission have ensured that the eight regional investment facilities were properly set up and were now firmly established. The objectives and priority sectors of all the regional investment facilities were aligned with global EU policy objectives. In addition, the new financial regulation has introduced new rules on blending which also have positively impacted their regulatory framework and further improvement regarding this framework was still ongoing with the upcoming adoption of practical guidelines for the management of these investment facilities.

The Court then stated that both suitable projects were identified enabling sufficient grant applications to be done in order for the funds allocated to be committed accordingly to the planned timeframe and that the selected projects were relevant to the development needs of the regions and countries at stake.

Nevertheless, the Court pointed out that the level of information provided by the financial institutions before granting approval remained too general to facilitate the decision-making process by the executive bodies of the regional investment facilities as quantified data were missing on loan conditions, concessionality and viability. Furthermore, the Court’ examination stressed that the added value of providing a grant was not adequately formulated, structured or quantified. The Court considered that the Commission has improved its reviews of grants application over time but there was still room of improvement as regards the level of information provided in the grant application form. For the project’ review, it was noted that significant information related to the concessionality, debt sustainability, the grant amount and viability were still to be improved. Moreover, the definition of criteria for economic viability of projects and the formulation of guidance to select which type of development investments should be funded by either grants, loans or a blend of two were lacking. It is also to be noted that the involvement of the EU delegations should be extended in the phase of the projects selection.

Beside the selection of projects for grants assistance, the Court also reviewed the selection of grant type1 and amount. Even though the grant types selected were relevant for the added The most common types of grants are direct-investments grants, interest rates subsidies, technical assistance or

–  –  –

When sub-facilities were used2, the Court’s review showed that the award criteria for subloans and their related eligible activities were vague or too broad as there was no mention of sectors and priorities concerned with a risk not to be in fine in line with EU priorities.

Concerning the overall Commission’s monitoring of implementation of grants, the Court found it was in practice varied and in the remit of several stakeholders i.e. the secretariats of the regional investment facilities for the financial monitoring of the facilities, the EU delegations which are differently involved in the identification phase of projects and the financial institutions for which the contractual arrangements for the disclosure of information were unclear. A dedicated performance monitoring for blending activities was still a limited practice so far but under examination and currently being structured by the Commission’s services. Nevertheless, the existing Results Oriented Monitoring system allows selecting blended projects for assessment looking at the five criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, potential impact and likely sustainability. Focus on the added value of the grants was considered as a missing assessment criteria.

 Did the use of blending yield the intended benefits?

The second Court' audit objective was to evaluate whether the intended benefits of blending grants and loans have been fully achieved so far.

The Court first analysed whether the need for a grant to enable the loan to be contracted was demonstrated. The sample of projects carried out by the Court showed that projects financed by regional investment facilities also attracted other funding from non-European financial institutions and from beneficiaries. It also revealed that the justification for awarding grants for blending with loans was clear in certain cases, especially where concessionality criteria had to be met. However, in other cases, in fact in about 50 % of the projects examined this necessity of awarding a grant was not evident, the EU grant not being a determining factor in the achievement of the financing package.

Blended finance offers the grant donor to being involved in the decision-making process in loan guarantee schemes.

The IMF requires that for heavily indebted countries, only contract loans with terms that are substantially more favorable than loans at market conditions. Such loans are referred to as concessional loans. For heavily indebted partner counties, the IMF requires the concessionality level to be at least 35%.

In some cases, the regional investment facilities allocate funds to different facilities or fund, these ‘subfacilities’ being in charge of sub-actions which involve local financial partners such as, among the eight reviewed by the Court, the Africa Energy Guarantee Fund (EIB) or the SME Finance Facility (EBRD).

PE541.429v02-00 4/9 DT\1046078DE.doc DE particular in the definition of policies as well as in the management of projects. On the basis of its sample of 30 projects, the Court estimated that the Commission did not fully capitalise on the potential for a positive influence or impact on the way projects were set up or for a wider impact on sector policy.

On the positive side, the Court found that regional investment facilities have fostered coordination between development partners through a framework wherein financial institutions could discuss their investment plans and also eased the funding of large projects by combining different sources of funds. The Mutual Reliance Initiative bringing together AFD, EIB and KfW also contributed to enhance effectiveness in co-financing development projects with the main advantage of reducing transaction costs for beneficiaries.

The Court finally stated that the visibility of EU support has been rather limited so far although the Commission started to address the situation by requesting to financial institutions to define communication policy to improve the visibility of EU grants in blended projects.

Summary of the Commission Replies

The Commission welcomed this special report as well as the recommendations that will further enhance the management of the blending facilities, an innovative approach to development cooperation financing. The Commission acknowledged that investment needs in EU partner countries were substantial and that Government and donor funds were far from being sufficient to cover these needs. Attract additional public and private was essential in this context, blending being recognised as an important vehicle for leveraging additional resources and increasing the impact of EU aid. By bridging financing gaps in investment projects, the EU grant often enabled projects as a whole and can mobilise more additional financing than loans from financial institutions.

The Commission recalled the division of responsibilities namely its role for the set-up of the facilities whereas the management of the projects was carried out in partnership. The Commission administered the facilities and the development finance institutions were responsible for the daily management of the projects (the implementation of the budget tasks has been entrusted to them in compliance with the rules of the indirect management mode laid down in the Financial Regulation).

The approval process was considered thorough by the Commission as all relevant stakeholders were adequately involved and the consultation process was adapted to the projects' specificities. Sufficient information was available during the decision-making process.

On the issue of the added value, the Commission pointed out that it was assured in all cases.

Projects were submitted to the competent Operational Board only when all the project components have been clarified and its added value was apparent. The Commission also specified that the arrangements for advance disbursements were being reviewed in the new contract templates for financial instruments.

As regards intended benefits, the Commission has devised this set-up taking full account of the potential benefits of the facilities and considered that its management has been adequate.

–  –  –

Empfehlungen des Berichterstatters zur möglichen Aufnahme in den jährlichen Entlastungsbericht der Kommission [Das Europäische Parlament]

1. begrüßt den Sonderbericht, in dem die Wirksamkeit der Kombination von Finanzhilfen aus regionalen Investitionsfazilitäten mit von Finanzinstitutionen gewährten Darlehen (Mischfinanzierung) zur Unterstützung der EU-Außenpolitik bewertet wird, und legt im Folgenden seine Anmerkungen und Empfehlungen dar;

Allgemeine Anmerkungen

2. empfiehlt dem Rechnungshof, solche Prüfungstätigkeiten in diesem neuen Bereich der Zusammenarbeit weiter zu vertiefen, um den politischen Entscheidungsträgern regelmäßig eine umfassende Bewertung von Problemen und Risiken zur Verfügung stellen zu können;

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