Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirteenth Report



Draft Council Conclusions on Special Report No. 19/2000 from the Court of Auditors on the management by the Commission of the European Union support for Palestinian society.
Legal base:
Department: International Development
Basis of consideration: EM of 24 April 2001
Previous Committee Report: None; but see (22007) 14778/00: HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraph 4 (28 February 2001) and HC 28-x (2000-01), paragraph 1 (28 March 2001)
Adopted by Council: ECOFIN on 12 March 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared, but relevant to the debate already recommended in European Standing Committee B on the Barcelona Process (recommended on 28 March 2001)


  18.1  Following the Oslo Accords of September 1993, the European Community started a special programme to support the Middle East peace process and the development of Palestinian society, and substantially increased its financial assistance. On 28 February we recommended a report on the programme by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) for debate in European Standing Committee B. The objective of the ECA audit was to assess the extent to which the Commission had taken the necessary action to ensure the best possible implementation of the programme.

  18.2  The Council adopted Conclusions on the ECA report on 12 March and on 28 March we considered a letter from the Secretary of State for International Development (the Rt. Hon. Clare Short) in which she explained why the Government had agreed to these Conclusions in advance of the debate on the report. We asked the Government to submit the Conclusions for scrutiny so that we could formally tag them to the debate. In response to this request, the Government has now submitted a short Explanatory Memorandum describing the Conclusions.

The draft Council Conclusions

  18.3  The Council welcomes the Court's recognition of the positive impact of the EU's assistance in the region. Whilst acknowledging the problem areas identified by the Court of Auditors, the Conclusions refer to:

  • the recent policy initiatives and reforms that the management of the Community aid to third countries is undergoing, including deconcentration[38] and reunification of the project cycle;

  • the statement on development policy; and

  • measures aimed at greater co-ordination between the Commission and the Member States.

  18.4  The Council concludes that the reforms must be pursued with vigour and that progress will need to be monitored carefully.

  18.5  The key Council recommendations are as follows:

  • reallocation of adequate resources, including staff resources, to the programme;

  • performance indicators, monitoring and independent evaluation;

  • establishment of a clear timeframe for all actions;

  • implementation of a standard framework for Country Strategy Papers (CSPs);

  • improved co-ordination with Member States and other donors; and

  • the Commission to report regularly on progress.

The Government's view

  18.6  The Secretary of State gave us her view of the Conclusions in her letter of 14 March, which we considered on 28 March.


  18.7  These Conclusions are a statement by the Council on the European Court of Auditors' report and, as such, are relevant to the debate in European Standing Committee B on the report, which we recommended on 28 February.[39] Meanwhile, we clear the document.

38  The Commission's policy of 'deconcentration' is to devolve more responsibility for the management of projects to its delegations abroad.  Back

39  (21492) 11381/00 (22007) 14778/00; see HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraphs 1 and 4 (28 February 2001). Back

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