Mid-term Review of the EC-funded Multi-annual Indicative Programme For the Trans-European Transport Networks: Findings and Recommendations
K El-Araby, Dorsch Consult Consulting Engineers, DE; S Morello, ISIS, FR
For the period 2000-2006, under the MIP Framework Decision (EC Decision COM 2654), the stated objective was to secure smooth and timely financing for transport projects of common European interest on a multi-annual basis, thus providing a secure level of funding that is respondent to progress of the projects. Under the MIP Programme, eleven of the fourteen original Essen priority projects were followed on, in addition to the Galileo programme, and four coherent Groups of Projects (GR) were identified with a maximum budget of EUR 3127.5 million that could be allocated to different components of the MIP.
In 2003, the MIP mid-term Revision process was initiated in accordance with Article 5a of the Council Regulation (EC) N¡ 2236/95, amended by the Regulation (EC) N¡ 1655/1999, whereby a mid-term revision and review of the MIP is required in order to review the effective progress of the Priority Projects and Groups of Projects.
The Technical Assistance Consultancy project, EVAMONTEN-T, was commissioned by EC DG-TREN to assist in the evaluation of the Trans-European Networks for Transport (TEN-T) programme with an emphasis on the evaluation and revision of the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Trans-European Transport Projects.
Work in the mid-term MIP Revision was organised into six main phases: 1.Assessment and review of the current MIP rules and the project cycle process for a number of MIP projects including a review of documentation and administrative processes. 2.Consultation and interviews within EC DG-TREN officials: 3.Consultations and interviews with Member State authorities and Project Promoters for a sample of MIP projects: 4.Analysis and assessment of results with the various stakeholders 5.Development of recommended actions including a road map for the MIP Revision and Support for the period 2004-2006. 6.Validation of the recommendations by the Commission Services and Member States.
The result of this activity comprises an independent view on the MIP process based on experience acquired by the European Commission, Member States and Project Promoters since the start of the MIP in 2001 and provides recommendations on the mid-term MIP Revision.
The overall assessment of the consultations within DG-TREN and with Member States and Project Promoters elucidated a variety of key findings which were structured in terms of project performance levels, strengths and weaknesses of the MIP, and MIP versus non-MIP projects. The overall findings, to be presented in detail in the final paper, are summarised according to these four aspects.
Project Performance Levels
*Fast projects: Have incurred higher costs than planned and a higher acceleration of delivery than originally planned,
*Normal-running projects: In line with original MIP 2001 budget allocation, and
*Lagging projects: After review and analysis, the MIP Revision process is an opportunity for such projects.
Strengths of MIP
*Concentration of funds in specific projects of TEN priority,
*Long-term funding guarantee for Member States and Project Promoters, as long as projects perform well,
*Multi-annual programming of projects by Project Promoters,
*Payment of TEN-T funds in line with project progress,
*Reduced effort by Member States (only Project Status Reports (PSR) submission and payment claims for continuing actions), and
*No more than two open Financial Decisions for any action.
Weaknesses of MIP
*Level of documentation at various stages of the project is high with no clear guidance, particularly at the start of the MIP process,
*Multiple rounds of MIP Decisions by the Commission services,
*Each Financial Decision is seen artificially autonomous with annual PSR and budget consumption reporting,
*Difficulty in monitoring and evaluation of project progress and forecasts, in particular, in clear technical and financial terms?in many cases in the Financial Decisions and frequently the PSR, there is no clear definition of portions of project eligible for funding,
*Little scope to accommodate delays and uncertainties in project implementation?no distinction is made between ?mature? well-developed projects and some ?new? projects that are liable to uncertainties and potential delays, and
*Little margin left in the current MIP budget for new Member States.
The recommendations and the proposed ?Road Map for MIP Improvement? that will be developed in the final paper are the culmination of the consultation and assessment process comprising ten months of effort which has also included numerous discussions and meetings with a range of EC Officials, two presentations to the TEN Financial Assistance Committee, and review and incorporation of comments from EC DG-TREN?s inter-service consultations.
From the consultation exercise and based on extensive validation and feedback from DG-TREN Officials, a number of proposals for revision/activation of the MIP rules have come to fruition, that are respondent to the needs and requirements of the various MIP stakeholders and which cover the following headings:
*Project Application stage
*The nature of procedures concerning evaluation of projects and award of funds and the correlated timing problems
*Reporting, monitoring and project management system
*Problems of present rules concerning the annual Financial Decision (planned costs vs. actual revised costs and changes in project cost profile)
*Compatibility of the possible changes discussed above and the development of the MIP revision
*Logistics for project management in DG-TREN
*Specific provisions for New Member States.
Association for European Transport