WECO The current European multi-annual budget includes 10 external action budget lines, or so-called ‘legal instruments’. ECDPM carried out a study for the EC, looking into what lessons could be learnt from the past experience of EU external action programmes under 6 of these 10 instruments. The evaluation analysed at two separate bodies of evidence: preparatory documents and EU Regulations that explain what the 6 legal instruments set out to achieve, as well as 57 EC evaluation reports describing whether these expected results were actually achieved. The study finds that the 6 instruments are in themselves not always clear and that they were not designed in a manner that facilitates their evaluation. Key conclusions from the study could inform the design and ‘evaluability’ of the legal instruments under the EU’s next multi-annual budget. Such efforts are needed both for accountability and for policy learning, especially beyond the level of outputs and outcomes in order to verify whether results achieved promote the required global impact, which ultimately justifies the financial investments made.
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