Who divides the SME instrument budget?

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Dear Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized enterprises,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

In January 2017, 10.6M euros was provided to 7 projects in the first 'Food' call of the SME instrument (SMEINST-07), or over 30% of the budget for the 4 phase 2 food cut-offs in 2017. In April, 5.5M euros was given to four 'food' projects, roughly 15% of the budget. Therefore 45% was spent across 50% of the call deadlines.

How was it decided to overspend in one cut-off and reduce the funding in another? Why was not 50% of the budget allocated, thereby funding an additional project? Where there particularly reasons why this additional project was not funded? What procedures were followed? Who makes the final decision? What was the score of the lowest scoring funded project in January compared to the highest scoring non-funded project in April?

The system of evaluation is supposed to be fair and objective, based only on evaluators recommendations. However, the decision of how much budget to spend appears to be arbitrary and open to abuse. From unofficial information it appears that projects with lower scores recieved funding in January rather than in April, even when funding was available.

Yours faithfully,

Mar Vila Pruneda

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