EU Agency grants: "shortcomings persist", say Auditors

22 Apr 2016 09:53 AM

A new report from the European Court of Auditors finds shortcomings in the way EU Agencies manage the grants they award.  While the agencies audited were now generally complying with the rules, particular shortcomings were noted in the areas of performance monitoring and evaluation.  

In specific cases, the selection and award procedures did not fully comply with the basic principles of transparency and equal treatment. Also, the potential for conflicts of interest persists, warn the auditors.

The auditors examined the systems and controls in place in five agencies: the European Institute for Innovation and Technology, FRONTEX - the Agency responsible for external borders, the European Environment Agency, the European Food and Safety Authority and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Together, these five account for just over 90 % of total grant funding between 2013 and 2015, which amounted to €740M.

The auditors concluded that, while the audited agencies generally awarded and paid grants in compliance with the rules, most did not adequately explore alternative funding options and, in some cases, grants were not the most effective tool. For most audited agencies, there was room for further improvement in their award procedures, control systems and performance measurement. The agencies did not adequately measure the effectiveness of their grants, say the auditors. 

"Grants generally contributed to the implementation of these agencies' policies", said Dr Louis Galea, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. "But they failed to set up adequate monitoring and evaluation systems for their grant-funded activities."

The auditors recommend that all agencies that use grants should:

The purpose of this press release is to give the main messages of the special report adopted by the European Court of Auditors. The full report is on

Special Report No 12/2016 “Agencies’ use of grants: not always appropriate or demonstrably effective” is available in 23 EU languages on