Scope Rating | Slow take-up of approved EU funds could also jeopardise future EU disbursements, as these will increasingly depend on governments’ ability to deliver on investment projects (mostly ‘targets’) rather than implement reforms (mostly ‘milestones’).
Indeed, the low disbursement of EU funds received to date is common among some of the largest beneficiaries of EU recovery funds, such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Croatia, given the energy crisis, rising commodity costs and supply chain disruptions. This may result in the EU granting greater flexibility in terms of timing and project selection for recovery plans in all EU member states.
In Italy, for example, spending delays are common, as reflected in Italy having the third lowest absorption rate of European Structural and Investment Funds at 60% in 2022 for funds allocated in the 2014-20 period, only ahead of Slovakia (59%) and Spain (54%) and well below the EU average of 75%. This reflects the lack of technical expertise in public administrations, coupled with slow adaptation to fast-track procedures for planning and tendering projects.