The European Transparency Initiative was launched by the European Commission in 2005 and counts four key pillars: (i) regulating public access to documents; (ii) the codification of ethical rules and standards for public officials; (iii) enhancing transparency in the context of lobbying and consultation, and, most importantly for our purposes, (iv) increasing transparency in the context of EU funds. This study is concerned with that last element as it seeks to identify the current state of affairs of transparency and accessibility with regard to EU funding mechanisms in direct, indirect and shared management, as well as the European Development Fund, across the European Union.
In examining various funding mechanisms as well as their formulation, implementation, and administration at EU, but also at national and regional levels, the study attempts to determine whether the various objectives related to transparency and accessibility, as set out in EU primary law and secondary legislation, are currently being complied with. It also enquires which factors improve transparency and accessibility and which obstacles public authorities have encountered in this respect. In order to best assess the current state of affairs in the context of EU funds in direct, indirect and shared management, as well as of the EDF, in 2014-2020 funding period, we have undertaken a number of case studies. The study thus adopts a multi-level approach, in line with the multi-level nature of the various funding instruments themselves.