About 94% of the EU budget is spent within member states on initiatives such as farm support and backing for research and small businesses. To ensure the money is used correctly, the EU keeps an eye on it and claims back funds if they have been misused. Every year the European Commission presents these violations and outlines countermeasures in a report it submits to the Parliament. The budgetary control committee votes on the 2013 report on Tuesday 24 February.
The role of member states
80% of EU funding is distributed by member states, putting them in prime position to look after the EU's financial interests. Member states have an obligation to fight fraud, whether involving expenditures or revenues, and must report all violations to the European Commission.
Irregularity and fraud
To qualify for EU funding, applicants must fill in the necessary paperwork correctly and comply with a set of requirements. Ignoring these rules is called irregularity and if deemed deliberate, it is fraud and a criminal offence.
Irregularities in 2013
In 2013 15,779 irregularities, both fraudulent and non-fraudulent, were reported to the Commission, involving an overall amount of about €2.14 billion. Compared to the previous year, the number of irregularities increased by 17%, although the financial amount related to the detected irregularities fell by 36%.
The budgetary control committee will debate the 2013 report and vote on it this Tuesday from 9.00 CET.