Planning, Spending and Evaluation of European Development Funds - Despite significant public resources devoted to EU structural policies, the available intermediate and ex-post evaluations of these interventions do not seem to offer proper assessment on "what works" and what doesn’t. This paper analyses one of the reasons behind this "evaluation deficit". It suggests that given the particularly complex decision
making process - involving different decision levels and multiple objectives - the budget constraints defined at the higher levels of the programming process tend to produce sub-optimal results with serious consequences for public expenditure effectiveness. With a simple representation scheme, and with the aim of opening discussion of the potentials and limits of evaluation for the future, the paper points out the existence of an "implementation paradox": how, and to what extent, is it possible to reinforce connections between the macro objectives defined at the higher levels and the individual policies/ projects downstream in the planning process?