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Independent evaluation of PHARE and TACIS

An independent evaluation of the Community's PHARE and TACIS programmes, which provide reform assistance to Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) and the NIS respectively, has been prepared by external consultants and sent to the European Parliament.

The evaluation, the first of ...
An independent evaluation of the Community's PHARE and TACIS programmes, which provide reform assistance to Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) and the NIS respectively, has been prepared by external consultants and sent to the European Parliament.

The evaluation, the first of its kind since the two programmes began, builds on the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of individual projects and programme sectors. The report covers criteria such as relevance, appropriateness, impact, effectiveness, sustainability and efficiency.

The overall results of the evaluation are encouraging, although a number of areas for improvement are also identified. With regard to PHARE, the evaluators praise the programme's "remarkable flexibility in addressing the needs of the partner countries", noting, in particular, that "No other agency, multilateral or bilateral, has proved as responsive as PHARE in providing technical assistance on a grant basis and on such a large scale".

The report points out though that "the demand-driven nature of PHARE has been both a strength and a weakness". It may have enhanced 'ownership' by the CEEC partners, but has also led to fragmentation of effort and the dispersal of resources. It should be noted, however, that many of the criticisms raised by the evaluation have already been addressed in the recent reorientation of PHARE into an accession tool.

In relation to TACIS, the evaluation highlights the programme's "positive record on project effectiveness in achieving the intended objectives. Contractor performance was high, with 31% performing adequately and 53% performing very well or excellently. Despite these achievements, a great many factors, some originating in partner countries, others in the EU, yet others in the Commission itself, have lessened the programme's full potential. The evaluation of TACIS ends with seventeen recommendations, ranging from using the PCA machinery to formulate TACIS strategy, through developing the consultancy market in the NIS, to reviewing the Commission's internal administrative and financial machinery. The Commission will now investigate which recommendations will be taken up.

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