Involvement and Level of Responsibilities
(Rôle des Délégations de l’Union Européenne dans l’exécution des projets régionaux : Implication et niveau des responsabilités)
01 / 1999
The ACP countries are entitled by the Lomé Convention to receive subsidies which enable them to finance their national or regional projects, commonly called"EDF projects".
Once the established procedures have been met with and the financial means have been acquired, it is up to the European Union Delegation of the recipient country to work with the concerned Administrative unit and other local partners.
Fund payments and operation monitoring are easily executed through the local delegations. These are entirely in charge of the project’s management.
Thanks to local monitoring and the development of an honest Cupertino, national projects can be executed without raising too many problems.
Regarding regional projects, in particular the Regional Programme for the Exploitation of Non-industrial Fishing Catches in West Africa, managed by ADEPA (West African association for the development of small-scale fishing)since 1994, Brussels decision makers have adopted a different policy.
The Delegation in charge is based in Freetown where the Programme’s Head Office should be set up. It is agreed that any payment order which is part of the ADEPA contract is issued by the Sierra Leone Delegation, but this does not apply to the management of the Cost Estimate-Programme managed by the Ivory Coast Delegation.
The two delegations often"return the ball to each other"when it comes to taking certain decisions. As far as other delegations are concerned they show no interest whatsoever in the Programme.
One must recognise that the functions fulfilled by the delegations in the management of the Programme are not clearly defined and that raises a problem. As long as everything runs smoothly, there is no problem, but when a major decision must be taken, people begin to hesitate. The Ivory Coast Delegation has shown that it wishes to get things moving. The only difficulty is the turnover of the advisors who are in charge of the file.
As soon as something new occurs, the process has to be resumed right from the start. Compromises reached after many work sessions are no longer valid and everybody refers to Brussels. Unfortunately experts in Brussels are disconnected from local realities and they insist that everything must comply with pre-established procedures.
Agreements concerning the formal presentation of invoices and claims to refund are often changed.
People want to be"covered"by Brussels, but Brussels takes a long time to answer. When it does, it merely quotes the texts which were precisely difficult to comply with in the first place, given the level of organisation of certain NGOs.
As a result, the Programme is paralysed.
As concerns the other EU Delegations in other countries, in spite of their involvement via regular information through various reports, they generally show no interest at all in the Programme. Request for meetings with certain delegations never received an answer. When we have a chance to meet them, we hear comments such as:"This programme is too complicated. We have no information", whereas we have checked that all the reports were received.
We consider that this attitude is blameworthy. Even if they are not involved in its management, these delegations should be concerned with a proper co-ordination of EU actions and should therefore show some interest for the Programme.
Translated from French (see corresponding title)
[Written for the public debate "Actors and processes of the cooperation", which could feed the next Lome Convention (European Union/ACP countries relations). This debate, animated by the FPH, has been started by the Cooperation and Development Commission of the European Parliament and is supported by the European Commission.]