EU Funds in Central and Eastern Europe: Progress summaries 2014-2016

EU Funds in Central and Eastern Europe

KPMG’s latest summaries for 2014-2016 compile data from countries in the region to provide a benchmark of their achievements in the 2014-2020 perspective.


KPMG in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) presents for the 9th consecutive year the EU funds progress in 11 member states from CEE. The study covers all five European and Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) for the period 2014-2016 of the current Multiannual Financial Framework (i.e. European Regional Development Fund – ERDF, European Social Fund including the Youth Employment Initiative – ESF, Cohesion Fund – CF, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development – EAFRD, and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund - EMFF).

EU Funds in Central and Eastern Europe: Progress summaries 2014-2016

Comparison with previous programming period

Progress is presented in comparison to the first three years of the previous programming period (2007-2013). Highlighted topic of the study this year is related to research and development projects in the region.

The study reveals that for CEE countries the EU funds continue to represent a main financial lever to public funding. Governments in these countries have put a lot of effort in both the successful closure of 2007-2013 programming period in terms of payment and the smooth start and implementation of the new result-oriented programs. 

Top performers in EU funds implementation

The delayed start of the ESIF programs in many of the CEE countries has resulted in failure to achieve better performance compared to the same period in the previous financial perspective 2007-2009. Compared to the contracting ratio for the first three years of the previous period and to contracting ratios of all CEE countries at end 2016, Estonia, Hungary and Bulgaria are the countries with the top results in ERDF, ESF and CF implementation – 47, 45 and 32 per cent respectively. Payment ratio is highest for Hungary – 20%, a result which has been triggered by publishing calls for proposals for all the available funds by the end of March 2017. The other CEE countries have achieved poor to moderate payment ratios in the range of 0% (Romania, Croatia) up to 13% in Lithuania.

Rural development programs perform best in terms of contracting in Lithuania and Slovakia (40%) and Hungary (28%). Payment ratio is in the range between 6 % (Bulgaria) and 20% (Lithuania). Absorption rates in the area of maritime and fisheries however are quite poor: contracting ratios vary between 0% (Bulgaria, Slovakia) and 17% in the Baltic states while payments still lag behind with zero per cent progress in most of the countries in scope.

EU Funds

Achieved success

CEE countries’ successful initiatives include:

  • Full electronization of management, monitoring and reimbursement of grants in the Czech Republic
  • More focus on innovation and improvement in education (Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia)
  • Emphasis on financial instruments (Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania)
  • Youth Employment Initiative: 63% contracted funds in Poland
  • Consistent progress in social inclusion and combating poverty (Latvia, Lithuania)

Areas for improvement

For all countries (except Croatia) the absorption pressure at the end of the previous period did not always allow for selecting the most sustainable projects. Common areas for improvement include:

  • Poor quality of programming documents which resulted in postponed or unproductive calls for proposals and overall low quality of project applications
  • Significant turnover of qualified staff
  • Delayed fulfillment of ex-ante conditionalities
  • Dependency on the political cycle which led to shifts to new policies and delays in implementation

About the summaries:

KPMG’s summaries on EU Funds in Central and Eastern Europe reviews the performance of European Structural and Investment Funds for the period from 2014 – 2016. They provide information on the implementation of operational programmes in 11 countries in the region. All data used comes from official sources of information such as Eurostat, the European Commission and national monitoring systems.

For more information:

The Public Sector Advisory specialists at KPMG in Bulgaria are at your disposal to provide more information on the study and to discuss with you points of interest.

© 2022 KPMG Bulgaria OOD, a Bulgarian limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity.  Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.



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