ERA Forum

pp 1–14 | Cite as

Public procurement in ESIF-programmes and -projects: a challenging balancing act

  • Christina BauerEmail author


With around 351. 8 billion Euro the cohesion policy accounts for almost one third of the European Union’s budget in the period 2014–2020. Numerous programmes and projects are co-funded by the so-called European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). Errors in public procurement cause almost half of all irregularities detected in these programmes and projects. Many of these errors could be avoided if ESIF-programmes would not foresee such strict rules for purchases and the intensity and frequency of controls of programmes and projects would be reduced to an adequate level. Based on five hypotheses the present article illustrates difficulties and helpful approaches for the challenging balancing act between ESIF- and EU-procurement rules.


ESIF-projects ESIF-programmes Public procurement Irregularities Financial control Cohesion policy 



  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    European Commission: Decision C (2017) 7782 final, draft version of 27 November 2017. Available at
  3. 3.
    European Commission: Key recommendations of the High Level Group on Simplification for the post 2020 Cohesion Policy (2 April 2019). Available at
  4. 4.
    European Commission: Guidelines on simplified cost options. Available at
  5. 5.
    European Court of Auditors: Annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2014. Available at
  6. 6.
    European Commission: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the ERDF, the ESF Plus, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and financial rules for those and for the Asylum and Migration Funds, the internal security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument, COM (2018), 375 final. Available at
  7. 7.
    European Commission: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and external financing instruments, COM (2018) 374 final. Available at
  8. 8.
    European Court of Auditors: Special report No 10/2015: efforts to address problems with public procurement in EU cohesion expenditure should be intensified (2 April 2019). Available at

Copyright information

© Europäische Rechtsakademie (ERA) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regional Development and EU Cohesion PolicyGovernment OfficeSalzburg LandAustria

Personalised recommendations