MEPs urge EU member states to claw back EU funds lost through fraud or irregular spending, and the EU Commission to use its executive powers to help them to fight fraud and tax avoidance, in a resolution passed by the Budgetary Control Committee on Thursday. The resolution, on how EU funds were spent in 2014, also asks the Commission to assess member states’ corruption-fighting performance each year and to maintain its strict policy on suspending payments in the event of spending irregularities.
Up to 80% of EU budget spending is managed by member states in areas such as agriculture, growth and employment aid to EU regions (European Structural and Investment funds).
But the European Commission is ultimately responsible for this spending and should claw back all unduly paid funds, whether resulting from error, irregularity or deliberate fraud. National governments are also responsible for protecting EU financial interests, which involves cooperation with the Commission and its Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
Key findings and requests
The financial impact of fraud and errors rose significantly in 2014, although the number of errors fell slightly. Reported spending irregularities affected 1.8% of total payments.
The resolution will be voted by the full Parliament at the March I plenary session in Strasbourg.
The European Commission prepares an annual report on the performance of EU member states and the Commission itself in fighting fraud against EU funds. The Commission presented the "Protection of the European Union's financial interests - Fight Against Fraud - Annual Report 2014 on September 2015 and also replied to written questions submitted by Budgetary Control Committee Members.