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Safeguarding EU-funded investments with Integrity Pacts: A decision-maker’s guide to collaborative public contracting monitoring

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested many governments’ ability to respond to communities’ needs swiftly and efficiently. Public agencies are facing greater scrutiny and increased expectations to deliver services and meaningful projects to expedite an equitable recovery from the crisis.

In the EU, member states have agreed an unprecedented budget of €1.8 trillion for the 2021-2027 period. The extraordinary influx of funds to be invested, along with the need to spend them quickly, significantly raises risks of fraud and corruption.

Decision-makers across the EU have a timely opportunity to collaborate with civil society and create greater transparency and accountability in public contracting through Integrity Pacts. In collaboration with the European Commission, Integrity Pacts were piloted in 18 contracting projects across 11 EU countries from 2015 to 2021. Their implementation shows that the IP tool provides a flexible framework for authorities to improve contracting outcomes and, ultimately, public trust.

Drawing on this experience, this hands-on guide aims to help EU authorities embed Integrity Pacts in their programmes in order to safeguard strategic investments under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and recovery funds.