Select Committee on European Communities Thirty-Third Report


The Environment of Russia and the New Independent States


"People to People"
"As far as Tacis City Twinning is certainly is a "people to people" programme....Our first project, which is to assist the City of Svetlogorsk Council in the preparation of Local Agenda 21 Strategies and Action Plans, in consultation with the local population, was very much grass roots. The three trainee managers who came to Mendip had contact with a large number of colleagues working for the District Council as well as the local community. They met the press, elected Members and many local people. Exactly the same applies when we spend time in Svetlogorsk with this project. We live with families and there is a very lively interest in what we are doing. There is no frustration relating to procedures or institutional barriers as far as we are concerned." (Mr Graham Jeffs, Chief Executive, Mendip District Council, England)[73]

  201.    The European Commission likes to think of the Tacis programme as a "People to People" initiative, and this is an aim with which we are fully in agreement if by that is meant a programme which has a direct impact on its intended beneficiaries. Rhetoric may not always match reality, however—particularly in the larger programmes, where "bureaucracy to bureaucracy" might be a more accurate description. Even so, there is no doubt that some of the individual contacts made in the course of the larger programmes do become durable and lead to further development and co-operation in the future. It is in the smaller programmes that "people to people" contacts are much more readily made, and during their fact-finding visits to Ukraine and Russia, members of the Sub-Committee found evidence of this happening in a number of cases, including involvement of local authorities and NGOs. In general, as the Tacis programme is of course seeking to reinforce sustainable development by its programmes, more emphasis on and encouragement of person to person contacts is clearly of great importance in building trust and in making sure that the longer-term effects of Tacis programmes are genuinely durable. Experience with Phare would appear to bear this out. (paragraphs 128-31)

  202.    Tacis should reinforce its existing "People to People" policy, with renewed attempts to work and develop trust with and between individuals (rather than just organisations) in the NIS countries' context, in addition to the contacts that necessarily occur at intergovernmental level.

Support for non-governmental organisations and the value of small projects

"One of the things that they said at the very end of the project...was "You didn't give us the fish, but you gave us the net with which we could catch the fish", and I think that really was the key. It is a very successful programme, it is small-scale and it is local, but I am sure its value is boundless." (Ms Sue Mullan, European Service Manager, Southampton City Council, England)[74]

"How many NGOs have access to telephones, let alone e-mail?" (Professor Sergei Baronovsky, Executive Director, Green Cross Russia and former adviser to President Gorbachov)[75]

"One of the best things Tacis can do is supply internet connections to the 89 Regions of the Russian Federation." (Staff member of EU Delegation, Moscow)[76]

  203.    Non-governmental organisations in Ukraine and Russia vary very widely in their expertise and competence: some are well integrated and purposeful, others seem isolated and less focused, except on single issues; most are highly dependent on individual enthusiasts and—for finance—on Western donors (including fellow NGOs). Networking among NGOs, except in the large centres of population, is difficult because of poor telecommunications systems; access to the internet is spreading only slowly. Nevertheless, from the evidence and other information collected by the Sub-Committee, both in the United Kingdom and during the fact-finding visits, it is clear that there is an impressive diversity of activities, of particular relevance to NGOs, funded through smaller Tacis programmes. The "Bistro" facility and the City-Twinning programme, for example, provided examples of relatively small-scale initiatives funded from Tacis and run by NGOs and city authorities, and appeared to be most successful in terms of both the actual initiatives themselves and the stated "People to People" objectives. A particularly useful feature of Bistro is that the EU delegations have discretion to approve most applications. While such programmes may be quite small in scope, their effects could be much more extensive and long-lasting; and they have the potential to engage the enthusiasm of local people and groups to a much greater extent than the larger programmes. Such smaller-scale programmes may also be regarded or intended as "starters" or "pilots" for subsequent larger Tacis or programmes funded from other sources. They could also continue to assist in the capacity-building of NGOs and other organisations in the NIS countries which might not be used to applying for and implementing funded programmes of development. We therefore feel that the area of the smaller-scale Tacis programmes is one which might be considerably expanded by the Commission, if necessary by diversion of funding from larger programmes. (paragraphs 135-37, 145-46)

  204.    Fostering the growth of a strong, independent environmental NGO movement in the NIS, with the resources and facilities for effective networking, should be a priority for Tacis. Tacis should look towards the expansion of its smaller-scale programmes (eg Bistro, City-Twinning, Lien), in order to provide NGOs and other appropriate interests with more scope for capacity-building, grass-roots participation and greater sense of ownership.[77] The EU delegations to NIS countries should have greater discretion to approve small projects without reference to Brussels.

Making better use of NIS expertise

"We are not a third world country" (remark made by a Ukrainian Tacis beneficiary to members of Sub-Committee C).

"I don't usually approve of using Western consultants, because I can't think of an area in which we don't have our own Russian specialists. I'd even go as far to say that sometimes we have access to technology that even the West does not have." (Professor Alexei Yablokov, Chairman, Centre for Russian Environmental Policy, and former adviser to President Yeltsin)[78]

"One must respect the very high degree of technical excellence that exists in Russian culture....One must emphasise the importance of personal relationships—they are open and honest, if you are....In Siberia they very much respect the UK and very much want to learn and work with us, and—provided that we accept them as technical equals and can have a certain amount of common learning from that—I think it works." (Mr Bob Barker, Environmental Protection Manager, NE Region, Environment Agency (England and Wales))[79]

  205.    The fact that not enough account was being taken by Tacis of the extensive pool of existing talents and skills already available in the host NIS countries was a constant factor in the evidence, and not least during the Sub-Committee's fact-finding visit to Russia and Ukraine. The general levels of academic and technical achievement in the NIS population are high, as a result of the general educational system inherited from the Soviet Union, and the subsequent levels of practical and application skills of NIS experts continue to be of a high order. There is therefore much resentment of Western assumptions (amounting almost to a neo-colonial mentality) of lack of education and expertise. They also, of course, have the considerable advantage of host-country knowledge and experience. The one constant but changing area where skills may be less developed is in the field of management and especially in financial management, and it does not always follow, of course, that good technicians will make good managers.[80] There have also been many examples of programmes in the NIS where host-country trainees, reared under a command economy, have found management concepts rather difficult to swallow. We recognise the difficulties which Tacis faces in respect of these matters, but we would like to see Tacis adopt a policy of gradual (and fairly rapid) incorporation wherever possible of host-country experts into Tacis programmes. Guidelines showing suitable percentage participation might be advisable, perhaps 50 per cent or more. It might also be possible to incorporate participation by appropriate Phare programme country experts by mutual agreement. (paragraphs 132, 174)

  206.    The European Union and its Member States must recognise that when they deal with the NIS they are dealing with educated and sophisticated partners, who have just as much to give as to receive. We therefore recommend that, as a matter of urgency, the Commission should promote considerably greater Tacis programme participation by host-country national experts, and should consider ways in which procedures might be modified to provide better opportunities for NIS partners to develop appropriate management skills. The Commission should also consider making more use of experts from the CEECs, with their longer experience of the process of transition.

The role of consultants
"EU experts came to study our problems; they asked us many questions, we provided many answers, then they reported back to us which problems we had and made some half-baked recommendations in a report written in English only and the projects were over. We hope the study was useful for Tacis; it was not so for us." (Belorussian interviewee quoted in the Tacis Interim Evaluation Report)[81]

"I am convinced that our procedures will not just slip into their system. There are certain lessons we have learned in the process by which we have come to our solutions that will assist them....We can get them up the learning curve more quickly than if they are doing it by themselves." (Dr Paul Leinster, Director of Environmental Protection, Environment Agency (England and Wales))[82]

  207.    Many consultants and other Western experts got a bad name during the earlier years of Tacis. As the Tacis Interim Evaluation Report has commented, disillusionment with "what to do" studies—which interviewees often refer to as "consultant fatigue"—has become "part of the myths about Tacis".[83] We are pleased to note, for instance from the Environment Agency's and local authorities' evidence, that consultants and other experts are becoming much more sensitised to the concept of a joint learning, as opposed to an ex cathedra, approach. It is one of the benefits of the new emphasis on partnership. A related complaint is that often a large percentage of the total funds awarded by the Commission to a programme goes to the EU-based consultants and experts as fees and expenses, with sometimes very small percentages remaining in the host country. This was a recurrent theme in the evidence, and especially in points put to Sub-Committee members in Ukraine and Russia by host-country experts. The complaint does not apply to equipment budgets, as these are not normally available to EU organisations. The argument is that if the Tacis programme as a whole is set up for the benefit of the NIS and Mongolia, then why is it that large amounts of the sums awarded to Tacis programmes appear to "go back" to the EU? It is important that this matter is addressed with some urgency. As we have already indicated, greater if not equal weight should be attached to the high quality experts who exist in the NIS countries, with a view to creating partnerships which achieve a better balance between the expertise of Western consultants and that of local technocrats. At the same time, we recognise that (as DFID said) there are high levels of expertise among Western firms, particularly the larger ones; they may be expensive, but they can offer a highly competent management capability, wide geographical experience, and access to specialist knowledge which may not be available in the CEECs and the NIS. (paragraphs 129, 134, 172-78)

  208.    Tacis should review its policies concerning the levels of fees allowed in its programmes for EU-based and host-country based experts, in order that, taking into account the differences in cost of living, fee differentials between the two sets of experts are reduced as far as practicable. Whilst it is evident that some EU Member States tend to focus on the immediate benefits in terms of fee income earned by their nationals, there are longer-term benefits, in terms of doing business with the NIS, to be had from Tacis programmes which have a catalytic effect and are capable of being replicated on a wide scale.

Adaptability to changing needs

"The Tacis Environmental Awareness project has been managed for the past 18 months by a Brussels-based public relations firm. WWF (as party to a European consortium) had tendered to manage this project. Despite being unsuccessful, WWF was keen to support the project—a position that was further encouraged by the Tacis Environment EC officials, who appointed a WWF representative to the project Advisory Committee. Unfortunately the continued engagement of WWF in the project did not progress much beyond the appointment. Following an initial introductory meeting, the project...progressed for over a year before a second Advisory Committee meeting was held. At that meeting it became clear that issues raised at the initial meeting (related to NGO capacity building in the NIS, appropriate awareness-raising processes and strategies, the need to establish partners, etc.) had not been addressed by the project. Rather, the project managers had proceeded to implement the project at the level (at which) they felt most competent—that is, media training and video resource distribution." (Ms Bronwen Golder, WWF-International)[84]

"We don't always have the opportunity to state the most important requirements. We tried to put our problems to Tacis; but they said they had their own priorities. By the time they came back after two years, things had moved on." (Professor Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, Chairman, State Committee on Environmental Protection, Russian Federation)[85]

  209.    Some of the criticisms of Tacis which have been put to the enquiry relate to existing Tacis programmes which have been established for several years and which involve long lead times, though this may not necessarily reflect more recent experience. There remains a danger that inertia, the convenience of dealing with known consultants, and the fact that the design of some projects deliberately favours the award of second-stage contracts to the same firms, may lead to a continuation of programmes which no longer meet the recipients' needs in their existing form. In addition, given the expressed policy of Tacis that it will always seek to appoint the best experts (including consultants) for a particular programme, if the priorities in a continuing programme alter, the choice of experts or consultants involved may need to be reviewed. Careful evaluation of experts' and consultants' performance should therefore be an important factor in any continuing programme. At the same time we think that the rules on tendering in the current Regulation, which can have the effect of excluding the re-engagement of consultants with a proven track record on Tacis programmes, may be over-restrictive. (paragraphs 140-42, 170)[86]

  210.    When a programme comes up for possible renewal or continuation, Tacis should ensure that the design of the programme fully meets the changing needs of the host-country or countries concerned and that the experts and consultants to be involved have been subject to close evaluation of performance. The aim should be to have dynamic flexibility without over-rigid rules. Arrangements should not be so "comfortable" that reappointment can be taken for granted; on the other hand, the rules should not preclude the reappointment of consultants whose performance has been exceptional.

Understanding one's partners
"It is a matter of finding the most relevant and legitimate representatives of communities wherever you work. In some countries we work with NGOs; in other countries we work with academic institutions or local government. From the point of view of building capacity and relationships in those countries, it is important to understand which groups have the most legitimate voice." (Ms Bronwen Golder, WWF-International)[87]

  211.    Some of the evidence suggests that the general situation which exists in NIS host countries is not always sufficiently well understood by western consultants seeking to work there under the Tacis programme. Even small differences in the cultural sphere, for example, can lead to considerable problems if neither side—especially the donor side—is aware of the way business is conducted on the other side[88]. The Phare Tempus programme produces a handbook of guidance to programme leaders, which includes some advice on "conflict management". Guidance on working in the NIS seems to be somewhat thinner.[89] We feel that Tacis should review its advice to experts and consultants in order to give maximum information and assistance in these fields. Tacis might also consider asking for evidence, as part of an application to take part in a Tacis programme, that the individual or organisation applying possesses such skills at first hand. Equally, where Tacis thinks fit, the provision of familiarisation programmes for successful applicants should become part of normal practice. We have seen examples where this has been most successful. It is, however, important that the familiarisation process should not absorb a disproportionate part of the project budget. (paragraphs 131, 172, 178)

  212.    Tacis should invest more in familiarisation programmes and documentation for its experts and would-be tenderers, who will find themselves working in a culture which is often very different from their own. Periods of attachment to relevant Western organisations for NIS partners offer notable value for money and should be encouraged through Tacis.

Tacis management style and structure

"EC aid has a complex management structure. Five different Directorates-General are involved. Each has different priorities, programmes and procedures." (Department for International Development)[90]

"Tacis does not attempt to create a real dialogue and stimulate appropriate demands for technical assistance from the Ukrainian side....The annual cycle of programme approval and the lengthy tendering procedure (are) very frustrating...." (Government of Ukraine)[91]

"There is a lack of local decision-making....The constant referral to Brussels within some programmes slows down everything." (Dr James Hindson, Field Studies Council)[92]

  213.    The Tacis programme and its operations are perceived by many people to be too cumbersome and centralised towards Brussels.[93] This seems to apply especially when it comes to obtaining important decisions which require Tacis central approval. Such long-distance decision-making, which can involve delays of two years or more, might well be avoided if more frequent decisions could be taken by the in-country Tacis teams, given their regular contacts with host-country Tacis programme personnel. If the Tacis in-country experts were consistently involved in programme design, which is clearly highly desirable, they would be fully conversant with programme details and therefore entirely competent to take important decisions on behalf of programmes. In this respect, the Phare model might be followed, and more responsibility for decision-making once a project has been approved by Tacis should be given to the in-country Tacis teams, acting jointly with their host country partners. This would provide the latter with more experience of the kind of autonomy and acceptance of responsibility with which Western managers are familiar. (paragraphs 166-68, 180)

  214.    Tacis should adopt the practice of more delegation of responsibility from Brussels being given to the in­country Tacis teams, and Tacis in-country experts should be fully involved at all stages of the planning of new programmes and projects. The new Common Service Directorate should explore the possibilities as one of its early tasks.

Staff resources in the Commission

"The lack of access to information and staff, largely because they do not have time, is a real barrier to the development of coherent programmes of high quality." (Ms Bronwen Golder, WWF-International)[94]

"Lack of staff and unclear division of tasks in some Tacis environmental projects have hindered project management...:

   too few staff

   confusion within most NIS about who is doing what in Tacis...

   overlap of management and planning of projects

   unclear role of Tacis in-country offices"

(Mr Krzysztof Michalak, OECD)[95]

  215.    Various concerns relating to staffing matters in Directorate-General 1A of the European Commission were raised in evidence. There is an over-reliance (as we found during the Phare enquiry) on staff engaged on short-term contracts. Tours of duty are regarded by some witnesses as being too short, in terms of familiarisation and real long-term understanding of the NIS and Mongolia. The levels of staffing which exist at present, and as they might be affected by the establishment of the Common Service Directorate, gave rise to concern about the ability of the staff to carry out their duties with maximum effectiveness. There is also concern about excessive staff movement within the Commission and the inability of DG 1A to provide an adequate "help desk" service (according to witnesses in Russia there had been such a service but it was discontinued; the Commission's new Phare and Tacis Information Centre would appear to serve a different purpose). The long delays experienced by many witnesses (particularly with the larger Tacis programmes) are a constant source of complaint, the delays being of particular worry to smaller organisations who may find it difficult to sustain their operations while being kept waiting for long periods for decisions. It is evident that such delays are related at least in part to staffing difficulties, and we feel that serious attention should be paid to this problem by the Commission. (paragraphs 160, 166)[96]

  216.    Staff resources and competence in DG 1A should be reviewed and strengthened, allowing for possible longer tours of duty (both in Brussels and in the field), better continuity of advice and project supervision, and for delays to be drastically reduced. A "help desk" service for Tacis staff and partners in the field should be revived or developed further.

Financial allocations for purchase of equipment

  217.    The equipment grants in Tacis programmes, which are normally about 20 per cent of the total expenditure, have been a frequent source of complaint from NIS partners. In general, host-country experts have considered 20 per cent too low as a norm. It would seem to be desirable that the rule should be more flexible, as this would directly benefit the NIS: the physical provision of equipment is, of course, a tangible "people to people" benefit. We recognise that too much flexibility over equipment purchases could have the result of insufficient funds being left for implementation and evaluation: appropriate safeguards would need to be incorporated in any revision to the rules. (paragraph 179)

  218.    Subject to suitable appraisal and safeguards to ensure that funds for project implementation and evaluation are not put at risk, we feel that the present permitted Tacis allocation for equipment funding (20 per cent or less of total programme funding) should be made more flexible.

Database of projects funded by Tacis and other donors

  219.    One of the symptoms of poor co-ordination between Tacis, other donors and financial institutions is that sometimes the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.[97] We understand that records are kept by DG 1A of all Tacis projects: we are therefore concerned that many projects are apparently being approved without the benefit of knowledge of the success or otherwise of previously approved projects of a similar nature. (paragraphs 157, 180)

  220.    Tacis should set up a central database of previously completed Tacis programmes and projects, together with evaluation data. To be of real value, the database should include details of projects funded by other donors and international financial institutions in similar areas of activity. There should be open public access to such a facility.

Monitoring and evaluation of Tacis programmes and projects
"I am concerned by the tendency to tick boxes and to count the number of meetings and publications as opposed to seeing what has been achieved as a result of those products being delivered." (Ms Bronwen Golder, WWF International)[98]

"In general, all parties tend to view monitoring as a positive influence on project management and implementation; however, it is sometimes necessary to clarify a number of points to make sure that all is correctly understood, as initially there is some reserve from the Russian side. This is partly historical, as the concept of monitoring (and its translation into Russian) means control."[99]

  221.    The evidence which the Sub-Committee was able to gather on day-to-day monitoring and evaluation of the Tacis programme was variable and patchy and left many questions unanswered. The Tacis Interim Evaluation Report, although indigestible reading, contains a useful overview of the effectiveness of Tacis as a whole but has little to say about project monitoring and evaluation on the ground. We see a need for much clearer guidelines on the monitoring procedures to be followed both during and at the end of Tacis programmes, and that these should be made available to all concerned. We remain concerned about the apparently disproportionate resources tied up in the in­country Tacis Monitoring Units: for example, a team of 40 people is based in Kiev, covering Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus—a reflection, perhaps, of a degree of paranoia and risk-aversion within the Commission. We are also not convinced that there is a coherent relationship between these units, DG 1A, the centralised evaluation service, and the Tacis sections of the EU delegations. Bringing about a greater coherence will, in our view, be one of the most important tasks of the new Common Service Directorate in relation to Tacis. (paragraphs 180-82)[100]

  222.    Considerably more information about the monitoring procedures for Tacis programmes should be made public to all concerned. A greater degree of coherence is needed between the in­country Monitoring Units, the EU Delegations and DG 1A in Brussels (including the separate Tacis evaluation service). Evaluation is an essential part of the process of ongoing project management, and should be reflected in the Commission's procedures and backed by adequate resources and training. In the long-term interests of the EU's relations with the NIS, the Commission and Member States must be prepared to strike a balance between monitoring requirements and the risks of project failure, and should not impose disproportionately onerous systems on Tacis staff and their partners. The new Common Service Directorate should, as a matter of priority, devise a coherent and seamless relationship between monitoring and evaluation. The European Environment Agency has a potentially important role in this area too.


"The college was created by Tacis to provide radical change in the civil service of Georgia....By the time the project comes to an end in May 1998, a total of 2,000 civil servants will have gone through the college's courses. We have the deepest gratitude to Tacis and the EU for their experience and support. But we are not able to carry on without outside financial help." (Mr George Turkia, Dean of the Graduate School of Management and Public Adminstration, Georgian Technical University)[101]

"One of the most telling things we heard in Moldova was that they had the World Bank in, two Dutch transport experts, who came over and they told them how to fix everything, but there was no follow-through on it." (Mr Bob Pinkett, Hampshire County Council)[102]

"We will stick with them, and even though we are tempted by Tacis to work with other cities in the former Soviet Union, we will not desert them just because Tacis has pulled the rug on funding (of Belarus)." (Mr Graham Jeffs, Mendip District Council)[103]

  223.    Tacis projects need to be designed with follow­on investment clearly in mind. Sub-Committee members were surprised by an apparent lack of concern for follow­on on the part of Tacis Task Managers in DG 1A. Among other things, follow-on requires (as we have said already) a much greater degree of co­ordination between donors and International Financial Institutions providing matching investment. It is also much more likely to happen when there is a relationship of partnership and trust. The new Common Services Directorate in the Commission has a potentially important role to play in ensuring effective follow-on. (paragraph 183)

  224.    It is essential that the Commission works closely with OECD, the EBRD and other international financial institutions to ensure that no Tacis project is approved without a clear strategy for follow-on activity. This would include a business plan which makes provision for enhancement and further development of the project and for its long-term funding.

The new Tacis Regulation

"Our basic recommendation is to reorientate the objectives of the Tacis Programme from the broad objectives of the past—support for democracy and market economy—to a more pragmatic objective of promoting concrete activities which can lead to mutually beneficial co­operation between NIS institutions and their counterparts in the EU. This would result in a more focused programme concentrating on a limited number of cross-sectoral issues, a programming process based on a dialogue with the recipient countries and not just driven on their desire, on a lesser reliance on consultants, and (on) a more active involvement of other companies and organisations within the EU.... Tacis should aim to maximise the catalytical impact, particularly by working closely with the private sector. Finally, the procedures and the rules which govern the management of the Tacis Programme should be substantially overhauled so as to focus more on results and less on inputs and procedures." Mr Guy de Selliers, Chairman, Flemings Eastern Europe)[104]

  225.    It is essential to maintain, and indeed to strengthen, the position of the environment as a Tacis priority area. Throughout this Report we have pointed to improvements that could be made in the way the Tacis Programme is currently run; many of these would need to be reflected in the new Tacis Regulation, currently under discussion within the Commission.[105] We must, however, draw attention to a matter which, although outside the scope of the enquiry, is nevertheless of considerable concern to us. It is unhelpful, to say the least, that nuclear safety (the problems of which are immense and sui generis) and other aspects of the environment continue to be brigaded together for budgetary and presentational purposes. As a consequence, we were unable to establish a reliable breakdown between the two components of the "environment" budget line. Paradoxically, Annex II to the 1996 Tacis Regulation includes nuclear safety in the indicative area of Energy, with Environment appearing as an area in its own right. Nuclear safety issues in the NIS (as in the CEECs) are being addressed through a number of international and bilateral programmes, among which the Tacis contribution is relatively small. Nevertheless, nuclear safety has had a distorting effect on the Tacis programme as a whole and there is a strong case for taking it out of Tacis and creating a separate EU programme for it. Meanwhile there should be a transparent distinction within Tacis between nuclear safety and other environmental programmes. (paragraphs 13, 40, 71-72, 120)

  226.    We would hope that the various comments and recommendations which we have made in this Part of the Report will strike a sympathetic note with the Commission and the Council as they deliberate on the new Regulation. As we have said, it is essential to maintain and strengthen the position of environment as a priority area for Tacis. In saying that, we would wish to emphasise one point. The critical nature of nuclear safety issues in the NIS makes it essential that nuclear matters and other aspects of the environment should remain separate indicative areas in the new Regulation. In future, however, they should be placed under entirely separate headings for budgetary and presentational purposes.


  227.    The Committee considers that the future of the Tacis programme and its implications for the environment of Europe raise important questions to which the attention of the House should be drawn, and makes this Report to the House for debate.

73   Evidence, p 13. Back

74   Evidence, Q 58. Back

75   Comment to members of Sub-Committee C visiting Moscow. Back

76   IdemBack

77   Similar comments have been made by the European Court of Auditors in paragraph 5.26 of the 1997 Annual Report. Back

78   Quoted by the Conservation Foundation, op citBack

79   Evidence, QQ 331-2. Back

80   When members of Sub-Committee C visited one of the water treatment plants of the St Petersburg Vodokanal (Municipal Water and Sewerage Undertaking), they were struck by the fact that the senior managers, despite displaying impressive technical competence, appeared to have no idea of where the money for their activities came from-either now or under the Soviet system. Back

81   Tacis Interim Evaluation (see paragraph 117). Back

82   Evidence, Q 335. Back

83   Tacis Interim Evaluation, op citBack

84   Evidence, pp 57-8. Back

85   Comment (through interpreter) to members of Sub-Committee C visiting Moscow. Back

86   The European Court of Auditors' 1997 Annual Report criticises slow and poorly documented tendering procedures, and a lack of records from which contractors' past performance can be judged (paragraphs 5.24-5.25). Back

87   Evidence, Q 216. Back

88   Savoir-faire must go hand in hand with savoir-êtreBack

89   The Commission has, for example, published documents entitled "Working and Living in Ukraine" (DG 1A, 1997) and "Guide for Tacis Experts working and living in the Russian Federation" (DG 1A, 1995) Back

90   Evidence, p 38. Back

91   Evidence, p 101. Back

92   Evidence, Q 277 Back

93   This criticism has been echoed by the European Court of Auditors' 1997 Annual Report. The Court points out that the number of individual projects supervised centrally by the Commission has become unmanageable, that there is insufficient information about small projects being implemented by different organisations, and that over-centralisation and slow procedures are damaging the Commission's reputation in the eyes of its partners and beneficiaries (paragraphs 5.22-5.23). Back

94   Evidence, Q 209. Back

95   Evidence, p 79. Back

96   Most of these concerns are reflected in the European Court of Auditors' 1997 Annual Report, paragraphs 5.28-5.31. Back

97   A point which the European Court of Auditors' 1997 Annual Report confirms at paragraph 5.22. Back

98   Evidence, Q 239. Back

99   Communication to the Specialist Adviser from a member of a Tacis monitoring unit. Back

100   The European Court of Auditors' 1997 Annual Report has commented that the Commission's monitoring of projects is, in many cases, weak, and that insufficient emphasis is placed on evaluating the impact of programmes (paragraphs 5.32-5.33). In relation to the new Common Service Directorate, the Court stresses that the Commission should ensure that the separation of responsibilities and functions between the Service and the Directorates-General does not aggravate problems which already exist between technical and geographical units within some DGs and that it does not threaten the consistency with which porojects are managed throughout the period of implementation (5.44). Back

101   Quoted in the 1997 Tacis Annual Report. Back

102   Evidence, Q 55. Back

103   Ibid. Back

104   Summary section of moderator's report of the May 1998 consultative meeting, The European Union's Tacis Programme: Reflecting on the Future (The De Selliers Report), op cit (see paragraph 117).  Back

105   See paragraphs 147, 159 and 177. Back

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