ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN SOCIETY
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.
|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
||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,
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
18.5 The key Council recommendations are
- reallocation of adequate resources, including
staff resources, to the programme;
- performance indicators, monitoring and independent
- 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.
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
11381/00 (22007) 14778/00; see HC 28-vii (2000-01), paragraphs
1 and 4 (28 February 2001). Back