Programme evaluations are carried out in order to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the Programme. The Programme has been subject to an ex-ante evaluation of independent evaluators with the aim to improve programme quality and to optimise the allocation of budget resources. The recommendations of this evaluation have been taken into account during the drafting of this Programme as described in ex-ante report.
In accordance with Article 56 of the CPR, the Managing Authority prepared the Evaluation plan that was approved by the Joint Monitoring Committee decision from 30 November 2016.
In 2019, the Programme contracted experts to carry out a comprehensive evaluation process, which is illustrated in the final report titled Evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Interreg IPA CBC Programme Croatia – Serbia 2014 – 2020. The evaluation was carried out halfway through the implementation of the Programme, in order to showcase mid-term achievements and results in the cross-border area.
The report reveals that the Programme is performing well in meeting the overall Programme goal: strengthening the social, economic and territorial development of the cross-border area. According to evaluators, Programme bodies are effectively managing cross-border cooperation and ensuring that projects are creating sustainable results in both Croatia and Serbia.
The evaluation methodology combined desk reviews of Programme documents, a web survey answered by beneficiaries and applicants, a set of interviews with Programme representatives and a case study analysis. The evaluation focused on Programme management, Programme implementation and the Programme Communication Strategy. The report was approved by the Joint Monitoring Committee on 24 October 2019.
Main points of the report are outlined below:
- There is a clear and efficient assignment of functions and responsibilities among Programme bodies, which is reflected in successful implementation of Calls for Proposals, selection processes and providing support to beneficiaries.
- The Programme has reached a satisfactory number of applicants during Calls for Proposals, meaning that Interreg is a well-known financing instrument in the cross-border area.
- Projects are producing tangible outputs in the field of social care and healthcare, energy efficiency and environment protection, tourism, heritage and competitiveness of both Croatia and Serbia. Although differences occur among Priority Axes, project results are leading to the achievement of Programme targets set for the 2014-2020 period.
- Communication is consistent across the Programme area due to efforts implemented by projects and due to favorable support from Programme bodies to beneficiaries.
- The eMS proved to be a useful and reliable tool for monitoring of projects and their progress, although occasional setbacks appear. The system is being improved continuously, with new functions introduced regularly and weaknesses removed.
The evaluation findings will serve as a tool to improve the quality of Programme implementation in the near future. Also, findings will be used in planning future policies of the Interreg IPA CBC Programme Croatia – Serbia for the 2021-2027 period.
Read the final evaluation report here.
In 2020, the impact evaluation will be carried out to assess direct contribution of projects to Programme objectives.
As regards to ex-post evaluation of the Programme, it lies within the responsibility of the European Commission.