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European Court of Auditors: Special report on synergies

25. Nov 2022

On 21 November 2022, the European Court of Auditors published its special report "Synergies between Horizon 2020 and European Structural and Investment Funds - Not yet used to full potential".

For the first time, the EU legal framework for the period 2014 to 2020 legally required the creation of synergies between the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 and the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds). As the Court finds, these synergies could only be partially established.

The report records and assesses the degree of different synergies established during this period and addresses the reasons for various shortcomings in this area. One major factor is the lack of coordination and cooperation between the relevant stakeholders and decision-makers, such as the European Commission and national and regional authorities. Another obstacle is the different legal and administrative frameworks of Horizon 2020 and ESI funds.

The Seal of Excellence introduced with Horizon 2020 was rarely awarded in practice.

Based on its audit findings, the Court of Auditors makes recommendations to the European Commission on how to improve synergy effects in the future.