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Consultancy fees as eligible costs under the Recovery and Resilience Facility framework

Question écrite de M. Gunnar BECK - Commission européenne

Question de M. Gunnar BECK,

Diffusée le 5 avril 2021

Subject: Consultancy fees as eligible costs under the Recovery and Resilience Facility framework

On 6 March 2021, the Italian Government said it had signed a EUR 25 000 contract with McKinsey to help set up the national recovery plan1.

1. Are consultancy fees paid by Member States eligble as expenses covered by the Recovery and Resilience Facility?

2. Could the Commission provide a breakdown per Member State of the consultancy fees paid or contracted to be paid in the context of setting up or auditing the national recovery plans?

3. How does the Commission scrutinise consultancy contracts, given that consultancy firms, who also help multinational firms to define their investment strategies, cannot be free of conflicts of interest when advising the Member States on strategic public policy decisions2?

1 https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/italian-government-faces-criticism-for-hiring-mckinsey-over-eu-

funds/

2 Regulation (EU) 2021/241 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 February 2021 establishing

the Recovery and Resilience Facility – Recitals 18, 39, 40, 53, 54 and 72, and Articles 19(3)(j) and 22.

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 4 août 2021

Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission (5 August 2021)

In principle, the cost of technical assistance or consultancy services can be included as part of the cost of reforms or investments included in the recovery and resilience plan only if these costs are duly justified, form an integral part of a specific investment or reform and are directly related and essential to its implementation. In working with private providers, Member States should respect all public procurement rules, publication and transparency obligations stemming from the applicable national and EC law. Applicable public procurement rules oblige contracting authorities at Member State level to take appropriate measures to prevent and address conflicts of interest. In addition, Member States are encouraged to explore whether other Union schemes might offer suitable support, for example the Technical Support Instrument or the Advisory Hub of InvestEU.

The Commission assesses the recovery and resilience plans in line with the obligations laid down in the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) Regulation (3). As part of this process, the Commission assesses whether the justification on the amount of the estimated total costs is reasonable and plausible, is in line with the principle of cost efficiency and is commensurate to the expected national economic and social impact.

The Commission also assesses whether the arrangements proposed by the Member State concerned are expected to prevent, detect and correct corruption, fraud and conflicts of interests. Only plans that receive an ‘A’ rating under this criterion as laid down in Annex V of the RRF Regulation will receive an overall positive assessment. Once completed, the Commission makes this assessment public and transmits it to the European Parliament and the Council.

⋅1∙ https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/italian-government-faces-criticism-for-hiring-mckinsey-over-eu-funds/

⋅2∙ Regulation (EU) 2021/241 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 February 2021 establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility — Recitals 18, 39,

40, 53, 54 and 72, and Articles 19(3)(j) and 22.

⋅3∙ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32021R0241





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