Evaluating policy and legislative measures helps to improve the accountability and efficiency of the public sector.
At European Union level evaluations are located largely at the European Commission. Its evaluations focus mainly on EU expenditure programmes. Legislative evaluation, usually conducted in the form of Impact Assessments (IA), has also gained in importance. Moreover, some Member States produce their own evaluations of EU legislative proposals.
In response to criticism, the Commission has recently increased stakeholder participation and enhanced the transparency of the evaluation processes. However, experts still criticise the objectivity of Commission evaluations. Moreover, they claim insufficient integration into the policy cycle prevents efficient learning of lessons, with Commission evaluations being little used by stakeholders and citizens, as well as within the decision-making process. The scarcity of their use by MEPs is said to be due to lack of trust in their objectivity as well as their technical presentation.
The European Parliament has endeavoured to improve the use of evaluations and has created an institutional framework enabling it to conduct its own evaluations of Commission impact assessments as well as studies addressing the added value of EU actions.