EU’s new technology institute and projects must clarify 2013 accounts say MEPs

Maire+Geoghegan-Quinn09Feb2011Auditing doubts prompted the European Parliament to postpone approving the spending of EU funds in 2013 by the Budapest-based European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) and two EU/private new technology partnerships, in a vote on Wednesday (29 April). MEPs also declined to approve spending by the European Council and the Council of Ministers, due to their persistent failure to supply the necessary figures. Spending by all other EU bodies was granted ˮdischargeˮ approval.

Spending errors in agricultural, regional and employment policies

The European Commission was criticized too, primarily for spending errors in agriculture, regional and employment policy. Citing a lack of proper checks, MEPs stated reservations about management in these fields and listed underperforming EU member states.

It is the Commission that bears final responsibility for spending the EU budget, which amounted to €143.7 billion in 2013, even though 80% of these funds is actually managed, spent and controlled by the member states. The European Court of Auditors found fault with 4.7% of spending.

Pressing need to deliver better results

MEPs deplored the ˮuse it or lose itˮ attitude of member states, whereby spending EU funds becomes the overriding aim, regardless of the viability of the investment.

ˮThere is a pressing need to improve the results achieved by EU spending. The underlying problem of the EU budgetary system is that we need to pay more attention to what results we achieve with EU funds,ˮ remarked European Court of Auditors President Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira in Tuesday’s (28 April) debate.

Look again in October

Parliament postponed granting “discharge” approval for spending by the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council due to member states’ failure to co-operate with it.

The EIT also has until the autumn to demonstrate that it has improved its payments verification and public procurement processes. The EU/private electronics components project ARTEMIS and nanoelectronics project ENIAC (now merged to create the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership – ECSEL) asked to improve their spending checks.

Next steps

Parliament will take its final decision on the postponed discharges in October.

Background

The European Parliament is the sole discharge authority vetting spending of the EU annual budget and the European Development Fund. At the end of a budgetary year it may grant, postpone or refuse a discharge, which is required for the formal closure of institutional accounts.

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, European Parliament, Plenary

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