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Donnerstag, 26. November 2015 - Straßburg Überprüfte Ausgabe

3. Vorstellung des Jahresberichts 2014 des Rechnungshofs (Aussprache)
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  La Présidente. – L'ordre du jour appelle le débat sur la présentation du rapport annuel de la Cour des comptes européenne - 2014 (2015/2852(RSP)).

J'aimerais souhaiter chaleureusement la bienvenue à M. Vitor Caldeira, président de la Cour des comptes.

 
  
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  Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira, President of the Court of Auditors. Madam President, I am honoured to present the Court’s annual report to this plenary session of the European Parliament. This year it comes at a particularly difficult time. On behalf of all of us at the Court, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the French people and to the families of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Those who attack European values are actually attacking our democracy. We must all stand firm against them.

This is a time for European solidarity, to defend the fundamental values in our Treaty. It is a time when the European Union and Member States must also address other major challenges: generating jobs and growth; meeting energy needs while achieving climate goals; and managing asylum and migration flows. In our view, the European budget could be invested better and more quickly to meet the many challenges Europe faces. Taken together, our audit results over recent years point to a need for a wholly new approach: decision-makers must align the budget better with the European Union’s long-term strategic priorities and make it more capable of responding in a crisis; legislators need to ensure that spending schemes are clear about the results to be achieved and the risk it is acceptable to take; financial managers have to ensure that the money spent complies with the rules and achieves the intended results. Next year’s mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework provides a crucial opportunity to rethink our priorities and the design of some spending schemes. In the meantime, more must be done with the tools already in place.

Our report identifies long-standing financial management issues that need to be addressed. But before I go through them, I would like to be absolutely clear that the 2014 European Union accounts have been signed off. They are reliable and we have issued a clean audit opinion to that effect. That said, let me highlight four areas of European Union financial management requiring attention.

First, too much money is still not spent in accordance with the European Union’s financial rules. There is a persistently high level of payment errors. The overall estimated error rate for payments in 2014 was 4.4%, and it has been stable for the last three years. The Commission and Member States have made progress in recent years in preventing and correcting errors, but more errors could have been corrected if all the available information had been used. Our analysis shows that there is scope to design spending schemes that are less error—prone, in particular by simplifying payment conditions and procedures.

Second, the performance of the budget. The European Union must invest the budget better. We found that the Multiannual Financial Framework could be better aligned with the EU’s strategy, both in terms of periods and priorities. We also highlight the fact that the high level of European Union targets and political aims is not translated into clear operational objectives, which is fundamental for effective management and reporting on performance.

Third, the European Union needs to deal with a number of financial backlogs that have built up, not least to free up funds so that they can be used where they are needed most. In particular, some Member States are struggling to absorb the EU funds they have been allocated, and there continues to be a high level of unused funds in financial instruments.

Finally, European Union financial management would strongly benefit from improved transparency, because this is crucial to ensuring citizens’ trust. We have recommended the action the Commission should take to improve transparency about long—term cash flow needs, payment errors and corrections made, as well as the results of spending the European Union budget. But it is equally important to ensure transparency for European Union policies not directly funded from the European Union budget. New ways of funding European Union policies should not put financial risks beyond public scrutiny and audit.

To conclude, the European Union must invest its money better. It must act to ensure that its investments better match the European Union’s priorities; that simpler rules are framed to achieve results; and that financial resources are managed more efficiently. Taken together, all this would indeed represent a wholly new approach.

The Court of Auditors stands alongside Parliament and the other European institutions at this very difficult time. Defending our democracy and ensuring the well—being of our citizens will place a great burden on our common resources. Helping to ensure that those resources are used to their best effect will continue to be the principal task of the European Court of Auditors.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the Commission. Madam President, honourable Members, President Caldeira, members of the Court, on behalf of the Commission I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Court for the work you do. It helps us to use our taxpayers’ money better.

I fully agree with the call by President Caldeira for a new approach, and it is what we have embraced in the Commission with our strategy on a results-focused budget. We have made progress on financial management, and the Court has recognised that our accounts are in order by signing them for an eighth year in a row. They are modern, they are up to standard, and we thank the Court for the work it has done that helped us to stabilise the error rate and, indeed, to reduce it slightly. That is a trend that we must pursue in the future. However, we also recognise there is more work to be done, and I would like to focus my response on the four points that President Caldeira made.

Firstly, we have work to do on bringing the error rate down further by improving the quality of first-level checks, by continuing our simplification efforts – simpler rules mean fewer errors – and by further deepening work on the cost-effectiveness of checks. The Court tells us that we have a higher level in respect of schemes that reimburse costs, and a lower level in respect of entitlement programmes. We have to take this into account.

Secondly, we fully agree with the Court about the importance of focusing on performance. We are in a very difficult time for the European Union, and every single euro matters. The Union has to work better for our people, and this is at the heart of the work we are doing on a results-focused budget. We will also continue combining performance and compliance. We believe that work we have started already on preventive and corrective action in relation to errors is bringing positive results: EUR 3.5 billion has been returned to the budget thanks to corrective action and preventive action that we have taken. We believe that, if we take into account the calculated residual error rate, we would be very close to the 2% that we strive to achieve.

Thirdly, on financial backlogs. This was a priority issue in the discussion on the 2016 budget, and we are committed to bringing the backlog down to EUR 2 billion by the end of 2016 – to a sustainable level. And of course, work has to concentrate on the new programmes so we do not end up with the same problem three years down the road.

Last but definitely not least: transparency is our taxpayers’ best friend, and we are committed to continuing to improve it. We are grateful to Parliament for recognising that we have made progress over this last year in terms of the transparency of our work, and we absolutely commit here to continuing that effort in the future.

In conclusion, President Caldeira said we must invest money better. We agree.

 
  
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  Claudia Schmidt, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. Frau Präsidentin! Die vom Rechnungshof geschätzte Fehlerquote für das Haushaltsjahr 2014 beträgt beim Europäischen Entwicklungsfonds 3,8 %. Im vorhergehenden Haushaltsjahr lagen wir noch bei 3,4 %.

Wie gewohnt liegen wir also wieder weit über dem Schwellenwert von 2 %. Auch die Fehlerquellen bleiben dieselben: Vergabevorschriften werden missachtet, Belege zur Untermauerung der Ausgaben fehlen, und nicht förderfähige Ausgaben werden getätigt und so weiter.

Was mich interessiert: Mit 31.12.2014 liegen die nicht abgewickelten Mittelbindungen bei 9 673 Millionen Euro, weil wir unter anderem auch immer noch Geld aus dem 8. EEF, der vor 20 Jahren bereitgestellt worden ist, ausgeben. Das bedeutet, dass wir von einer Abschöpfungsrate von 19,7 % – also nicht mal ein Fünftel der Gesamtmittel – sprechen. Weiß man, wo dieses Geld liegt, was damit gemacht werden soll, wieso es mehr oder weniger eingefroren ist?

Gerade in der heutigen Zeit können wir es uns nicht leisten, fast 10 Milliarden Euro einfach liegenzulassen. Deswegen erwarte ich als Entlastungsberichterstatterin aufschlussreiche Antworten.

 
  
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  Inés Ayala Sender, en nombre del Grupo S&D. Señora Presidenta, quisiera agradecer al Presidente del Tribunal de Cuentas, el señor Caldeira, y a todo el Tribunal, a todos sus miembros, el informe que nos han presentado para este año.

El diagnóstico sigue siendo un diagnóstico serio, porque el enfermo, que es nuestro presupuesto, ha sido sometido y sigue siendo sometido a grandes dificultades: cada vez más pequeño; cada vez más financializado, a través de los instrumentos financieros que, como vemos, tienen un problema de implementación y también de control; sometido a grandes tensiones por su no proveniencia de recursos propios, propiamente europeos, sino de recursos de procedencia intergubernamental, lo cual genera que aquellos que se consideran propietarios de los recursos puedan decidir de manera coyuntural sobre su destino; y sometido también a retrasos y a graves riesgos de impagos, como nos dice el Tribunal.

Pero también nos dice el Tribunal que hay esperanza, es decir, nos dice al Parlamento, a las instituciones —también a la Comisión, por supuesto— que necesitamos un nuevo enfoque y que en 2017, en esa revisión de las perspectivas financieras, es cuando podremos mejorar, con todo lo que hemos aprendido en estos últimos años, y conseguir que el presupuesto europeo deje de estar sometido a cambios totalmente coyunturales. En algunos meses hemos pasado a querer curar con él la crisis económica, el desempleo juvenil, la crisis de los refugiados y ahora la crisis de seguridad, y esa serie de elementos no puede financiarse improvisamente con el presupuesto europeo, que estaba en principio destinado a recuperar la Estrategia Europa 2020.

Sin embargo, hay elementos nuevos en el informe que nos van a ayudar: todo lo que se refiere a que ha cambiado la tendencia; se han igualado más los errores de la gestión compartida y de la gestión directa —luego, señora Georgieva, señora Vicepresidenta, vamos a tener que ayudarnos para que la gestión directa de la Comisión mejore—; y también agradecemos al Tribunal de Cuentas que haya indicado la naturaleza de los errores.

Yo creo que justamente con toda esa información vamos a poder mejorar la configuración no solamente del presupuesto de 2016, que se acaba de adoptar, y su control, sino también la revisión del año que viene.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki, on behalf of the ECR Group. Madam President, I would like to thank the European Court of Auditors for the report and the work which was done by it. I would like to recall that the indication of great importance here is that the European decision-makers must align the budget better with the European Union’s long-term strategic priorities. The budget has especially to be more responsive in a crisis. We have to ensure that spending schemes outline the results to be achieved. The EU should be a better manager of its budget and should invest better, and to make this possible, it should reconcile its priorities.

The money spent should always achieve the intended result. The estimated error rate for expenditure is still high: 4.4%. Although some errors were corrected, this is still such a high rate.

 
  
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  Martina Dlabajová, za skupinu ALDE. Paní předsedající, paní komisařko, pane předsedo Účetního dvora, děkuji všem členům Evropského účetního dvora, kteří při předložení účetní uzávěrky za rok 2014 vyzvali ke slaďování rozpočtu s dlouhodobými strategickými prioritami Evropské unie a také ke zvýšení schopnosti evropských fondů pružněji reagovat na aktuální potřeby Evropy. Tento nový přístup k řízení investic a výdajů považuji na evropské úrovni za velmi správný. Jako zpravodajka udělení absolutoria Evropské komise za rok 2014 se vydávám stejným směrem.

Mou první prioritou je snaha klást důraz na výkonnost a na reálný ekonomický efekt, nejen na právní a formální správnost dokladů. Musíme hledat novou rovnováhu mezi dodržováním formalit a silnějším zaměřením na výsledky. Domnívám se, že je třeba pohlédnout na způsob hospodaření s evropskými penězi komplexně a v souvislostech. Vždyť jsou-li tyto peníze veřejné, musí být nakládání s nimi předmětem kompetentní, objektivní a transparentní kontroly. Hospodárnost nakládání s veřejnými zdroji zdaleka nekončí porovnáním reality vynaložených prostředků s formálně přijatými pravidly, naopak pro mne začíná zjištěním toho, co každý konkrétní výdaj i jejich celkový souhrn v daném období reálně přinesl.

Mou druhou prioritou je napomoci tomu, aby Unie dostála svým závazkům a začala prezentovat své úspěchy. My nutně potřebujeme přestat jen stále hledat pochybení a nedostatky, ale musíme také ukazovat příklady dobré praxe, které mají vysokou přidanou hodnotu a mohou nás inspirovat do budoucnosti.

Mou třetí prioritou je úzká spolupráce se zainteresovanými partnery napříč institucemi Evropské unie. Výroční zpráva Evropského účetního dvora hovoří na několika místech o kultuře performance jako vlastnosti nutné pro dlouhodobě zdravý finanční management veřejných zdrojů přerozdělovaných prostřednictvím rozpočtu Evropské unie. Podaří-li se nám společně této kultury performance dosáhnout a osvojit si její společné pochopení a porozumění, budu považovat svůj cíl ohledně absolutoria za rok 2014 za naplněný.

Závěrem mi dovolte ocitovat české přísloví, které říká: „Dobré účty dělají dobré přátele.“ Věřím, že snaha o hospodárné nakládání s evropskými finančními prostředky a snaha o zamezení zbytečných ztrát nás v této těžké době spojuje napříč jednotlivými členskými zeměmi i politickým spektrem.

 
  
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  Dennis de Jong, namens de GUE/NGL-Fractie. Dank aan de heer Caldera en de Rekenkamer voor het verslag. Het is natuurlijk een somber verslag, waaruit nog steeds blijkt dat het aantal fouten te hoog is. Daarover wordt komend jaar ongetwijfeld gediscussieerd in de Commissie begrotingscontrole waar de druk op de Commissie en de lidstaten zal worden opgevoerd.

Ik wil me nu even concentreren op een paar andere punten. Wij zijn het er allemaal over eens dat de burgers in Europa willen weten wat de resultaten zijn van de uitgaven van de Europese Unie en ik ben een groot voorstander van prestatie- en resultaatgericht begroten. Maar er zijn ook wat risico's. Ten eerste, het moet niet gaan verzanden in een stelsel van indicatoren waar democraten blij van worden, maar die in werkelijkheid de kosten alleen maar verhogen.

Ten tweede, de Europese meerwaarde moet in gewone mensentaal duidelijk gemaakt kunnen worden. Ik geef één voorbeeld: in haar jaarlijkse antifraude-rapportage meldt de Europese Commissie als één van de belangrijkste resultaten van het Hercules III-programma dat er 55 conferenties en seminars worden georganiseerd. Dat is leuk voor de ambtenaren en nuttig om elkaar te leren kennen, maar burgers in Europa worden daar niet vrolijk van. Die willen weten wat nu de werkelijke resultaten van die bijeenkomsten zijn. Hoe wordt de samenwerking daarvan werkelijk beter en hoe kunnen we dat meten? Een resultaat moet ook afgezet worden tegen alle gemaakte kosten. Zouden projecten zonder Europese financiering ook tot stand gekomen zijn? Wordt geld gewoon uitgegeven omdat het er is of was er een acute noodzaak? Hoe hoog zijn de kosten voor bijvoorbeeld lokale regionale autoriteiten om projecten binnen te harken? In Brussel hebben zij zowat allemaal lobbykantoren. Die kosten ook geld. Betrekken we die kosten bij het bepalen van de Europese meerwaarde?

Dan nog een heel ander punt. Terecht maakt de Rekenkamer onderscheid tussen foutjes en fraude. Maar als het aandeel ernstige fouten bij aanbestedingen in één jaar oploopt van 0,8 procent naar 1,2 procent, dan vraag ik me toch af of hier niet meer aan de hand is. Natuurlijk is aanbesteden een apart vak. Is hier echter toch geen sprake van bewuste malversatie en zouden ernstige fouten dan ook niet moeten worden behandeld als fraude?

 
  
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  Bart Staes, namens de Verts/ALE-Fractie. Ik dank jullie voor het geleverde werk. We hebben heel veel aan de invloed van de Rekenkamer. Maar dit is de zeventiende keer dat ik deze oefening doe en ik moet zeggen dat er toch absoluut weinig vooruitgang is. Ik slaak een diepe zucht. Het foutenpercentage blijft hoog, 4,4 procent. Mevrouw de commissaris zei daarnet in het debat - en verheugde zich daarover - dat het foutenpercentage stabiel blijft. Maar het betekent toch ook dat in bijna één op 20 van de gevallen van de controles door de Rekenkamer fouten worden ontdekt! Ik weet, dat is geen fraude, maar het is wel koren op de molen van eurosceptici. We weten dat het basisprobleem ligt bij de lidstaten. Tachtig procent van onze middelen wordt gebruikt in gedeeld beheer en het zijn de lidstaten die meestal wisten of hadden kunnen weten dat er fouten gemaakt werden.

Dus, mevrouw de commissaris, ik vraag u klaar en duidelijk: zult u aangeven welke lidstaten obstinaat weigeren hier de zaak te verbeteren? Zult u hen benoemen en zult u ook actie ondernemen om de gelden die fout werden uitgekeerd ook effectief adequaat terug te vorderen?

 
  
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  Marco Valli, a nome del gruppo EFDD. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ringrazio anch'io il Presidente della Corte dei conti, perché fa un lavoro molto importante e ci aiuta nel processo di controllo sul bilancio dell'Unione. Però, come il mio collega Bart Staes, devo constatare tante e troppe irregolarità, soprattutto nella gestione dei fondi strutturali.

Abbiamo visto proprio dalle vostre relazioni, che negli anni hanno sempre le stesse indicazioni, come gli Stati membri, in questa gestione poco trasparente dei fondi, soprattutto del Fondo sociale europeo e il Fondo europeo di sviluppo regionale, quei fondi cioè che dovrebbero dare valore aggiunto nei nostri territori, si dimostrino poco trasparenti: appalti aggiudicati in modo diretto e mancata pubblicazione della documentazione sugli appalti. Si tratta di un sistema che va avanti da troppo tempo e ci sono troppi miliardi in gioco. In un momento di crisi bisogna assolutamente agire e imporre, in un certo senso, misure di trasparenza a chi trasparente non è.

Sulla questione Banca europea per gli investimenti, occorre rilevare che spesso la scarsa trasparenza degli appalti e dei subappalti inerenti agli investimenti infrastrutturali. La documentazione sui subappalti deve essere sempre chiara e trasparente, perché la Banca europea per gli investimenti – che gestisce danaro dei cittadini europei – non può garantire un ritorno ad aziende poco chiare, che magari hanno anche collegamenti con la criminalità organizzata.

In relazione al tema dei fondi di preadesione, vogliamo assolutamente più trasparenza. Diamo un sacco di miliardi alla Turchia, che – abbiamo visto – occupa la settima posizione tra i beneficiari di fondi, anche della BEI: un paese extra Unione europea che però è il settimo beneficiario di tali fondi!

Vogliamo trasparenza sui fondi di preadesione. Dei fondi per i rifugiati non si sa nulla. A tali paesi vengono dati miliardi di euro e, in questo momento di pressione proprio in quella zona geografica, è importante sapere cosa venga finanziato in quei paesi con ogni singolo euro dei nostri contribuenti.

 
  
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  Steeve Briois, au nom du groupe ENF. Madame la Présidente, chers collègues, comme en 2012 et en 2013, la Cour des comptes européenne émet un avis défavorable sur la légalité et la régularité des paiements effectués par l'Union, en estimant le niveau d'erreur à 4,4 %, ce qui dépasse largement le seuil des 2 %. À ce titre, je voudrais attirer votre attention sur le niveau d'erreur particulièrement élevé dont fait l'objet l'attribution des fonds structurels européens, avec un taux qui explose à 5,7 %.

Comme l'indique ce rapport, la performance devrait être au cœur des priorités des fonctionnaires. Par ailleurs, la complexité des procédures administratives ainsi que le croisement de la stratégie Europe 2020 avec le cadre financier pluriannuel sont source d'anomalies financières insupportables au détriment des peuples européens. Par conséquent, ce ne sont pas les renforcements des contrôles ni certaines suspensions de paiement qui régleront quoi que ce soit.

Tout cela reste évidemment très insuffisant au regard des défis qui s'annoncent.

 
  
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  Ελευθέριος Συναδινός ( NI). Κυρία Πρόεδρε, τα τελευταία πέντε χρόνια οι ετήσιες εκθέσεις του Ελεγκτικού Συνεδρίου, δυστυχώς, αναφέρουν ότι το ποσοστό σφάλματος των ευρωπαϊκών δαπανών συνεχώς αυξάνεται. Αυτό πρακτικά μεταφράζεται ότι οι αποδιδόμενοι λογαριασμοί της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενώσεως είναι αναξιόπιστοι.

Οφείλουμε να είμαστε πιο προσεκτικοί στη διαχείριση και τον έλεγχο των ευρωπαϊκών κονδυλίων. Πρέπει να αλλάξει η πρακτική της αλόγιστης δαπάνης, απλά για να απορροφούμε κονδύλια. Πρέπει να εστιάσουμε περισσότερο στα αποτελέσματα και τη συμμόρφωση με τους κανόνες, ώστε μεσομακροπρόθεσμα να υπάρχουν επαρκή κονδύλια προς διάθεση στον προϋπολογισμό της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

Σε τομείς όπως η περιφερειακή πολιτική, η ενέργεια, οι μεταφορές, το περιβάλλον και η αλιεία, η διαχείριση των κονδυλίων γίνεται από κοινού μεταξύ Επιτροπής και κρατών μελών. Όσο καλοθελητές και να είμαστε, τα υψηλά ποσοστά σφάλματος στις δαπάνες δεν μπορούν να οφείλονται αποκλειστικά σε μη συμμόρφωση με τις ευρωπαϊκές οδηγίες.

Πρέπει να ελέγχουμε και να επιβάλουμε κυρώσεις σε περιπτώσεις απάτης, ανεπάρκειας και σπατάλης. Για παράδειγμα, εάν μια μικρομεσαία επιχείρηση ενώ είναι ιδιοκτησία μιας μεγαλύτερης, λαμβάνει πληρωμές από ευρωπαϊκούς πόρους ως μικρομεσαία, τότε μιλάμε για απάτη και όχι ανακολουθία κανόνων.

Τέτοιου είδους πρακτικές πρέπει να σταματήσουν ώστε να μην επιβαρύνεται ο ευρωπαίος φορολογούμενος πολίτης.

 
  
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  Markus Pieper (PPE). Frau Präsidentin! Alle Jahre wieder – dieses Jahr zwei Hinweise. Erstens zum Ausgabenbereich „Europa in der Welt“: Leider müssen wir in den außenpolitisch relevanten Bereichen drastisch steigende Fehlerzahlen hinnehmen, und der Umgang mit Krisenstaaten ist sensibel – jetzt auch unter dem Stichwort Flüchtlinge. Umso mehr Verantwortung müssen wir als EU direkt übernehmen und nicht nur den Entwicklungshilfeorganisationen blind vertrauen.

Zweitens zum Untersuchungsansatz des Hofes: Ja, der Ansatz der europaweiten qualitativen Stichprobe ist effektiv und bringt Dinge auf den Punkt. Die Arbeit mit Stichproben ist aber auch manipulationsanfällig. Ist es ein Zufall, dass die letztjährigen Ausreißer Spanien und Griechenland plötzlich eine zuverlässige Verwaltung haben sollen? Ich bleibe dabei: Ohne begleitende Länderberichte geht der Gesamtbericht des Hofes den wahren Ursachen für Betrug und Fehler nicht auf den Grund.

Sehr geehrter Herr Caldeira, schaffen Sie endlich mehr Vertrauen und Transparenz, indem Sie einzelne Länder wirklich unter die Lupe nehmen und sich nicht hinter der Gesamtschau verstecken!

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D). Madam President, Commissioner, President of the Court of Auditors, I wish to repeat that the accounts have been signed off and that errors, of course, are not fraud, although we should naturally keep trying to reduce them. Member States can play their part. Indeed, they already have the information to stop or correct many of the errors, and they should use that information. At EU level we should do more on simplification to help reduce errors. For the current cohesion policy programmes, some attempts have been made to reduce errors through simplification, for example through the introduction of cohesion flat-rate payments and having one set of common regulations for the five different funds, although each of the individual funds still has its own rules. Hopefully the High-Level Group established by the Commissioner will look at this particular issue and many others, because it is important that we reduce bureaucracy and make things as simple as possible for beneficiaries, for auditors, for Member States and for regions. Indeed, when we visit regions and projects, they continue to make the same plea for greater simplification.

I also wanted to comment quickly on the issue of measuring performance. I think it is absolutely right that we should be looking to measure performance. The question is what we measure and how we measure it. Obviously, we need to do a lot more work on that, but it must surely be right for us to measure the results of spending of EU funds.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D), Întrebare adresată conform procedurii „cartonașul albastru”. Doamna președintă, stimate coleg, ați vorbit de simplificare și este un lucru de care toată lumea se plânge în toate țările, inclusiv administrația, nu numai firmele private.

Vă întreb: credeți că este o legătură directă între complexitatea scrierii programelor și greșelile care se fac și corupția care apare în cadrul atragerii fondurilor europene? Credeți că există o legătură directă și ce ar trebui făcut?

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), blue-card answer. I do not think that there is a link between simplification and corruption, but I think that there definitely is a link between simplification and reducing the number of errors. That is why I said in my contribution that whenever we visit Member States’ regions, businesses or anybody involved in projects, they plead for greater simplification. They believe that this is one of the best ways – probably the best way – to reduce errors.

 
  
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  Richard Ashworth (ECR). Madam President, I would like to say to Mr Caldeira that there is a depressing familiarity to the Court of Auditors’ report. For far too many years it is the same areas of spend showing the same errors of spend. I agree with you, Mr Caldeira, that it is time for a fresh approach.

Firstly, because Mr Vaughan is right: he was right when he said there is a direct relationship between the complexity of regulation and the consequent level of error. Secondly, because the high emphasis on compliance comes at the expense of evaluation of outcomes and quality of spend. To achieve those, we need greater levels of transparency and of accountability. Both of these we can only really achieve when the people elected by the taxpayers adopt responsibility and the scrutiny role for expenditure of the taxpayers’ money.

 
  
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  Nedzhmi Ali (ALDE). Madam President, we welcome the appeal for a wholly new approach to the management of EU investment and spending. Certainly the EU budget should be better aligned to the long-term strategic priorities. At the same time, it should be more agile and allow a higher degree of responsiveness to the changing parameters of the dynamic environment.

In order to achieve the optimal outcome from the introduction of performance-based budgeting, not only should the intended results be clear, but the financial resources should also be spent lawfully and the intended result accomplished. In order to reduce the level of errors, it is of the utmost importance to undertake massive simplification of the procedures. Despite the positive steps taken by the Commission in introducing the ‘budget focused on results’, we should be aware of several issues.

Firstly, this new approach should be introduced carefully and should take account of the impact of irregularities on added value. Secondly, there should be a precise timetable for its introduction, and lastly, we should achieve a common understanding among the EU institutions about the indicators that we will use to measure results.

 
  
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  Igor Šoltes (Verts/ALE). Gospod predsednik Računskega sodišča, gospa komisarka, predsedujoča, lep pozdrav. Stopnja napak, ki jo je tudi letos ugotovilo Računsko sodišče, je relativno visoka.

Računsko sodišče vsako leto postavi ogledalo porabi evropskega denarja, je pa seveda res, da Evropsko računsko sodišče ne more samo pregledati vseh transakcij, ki se opravljajo z evropskim denarjem, in tu je velika vloga tudi nacionalnih sodišč in pa seveda sistema notranjih kontrol. Edino s sodelovanjem vseh teh in skupaj s Komisijo lahko dosežemo boljše rezultate tudi pri analizi napak, pri analizi nepravilnosti.

Veliko napak gre tudi na račun javnih naročil in, kot vemo, se zakonodaja na tem področju spreminja v vseh državah članicah in tudi to je eno okno za izboljšave.

Prepričan sem, da če tukaj pomagamo državam članicam in izboljšamo finančno kulturo, bo tudi stopnja napak v prihodnje relativno nižja.

 
  
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  Jonathan Arnott (EFDD). Madam President, you might expect that I would, as a Eurosceptic, give the same speech as last year. You might expect me to make much of the continuing high error rate in the EU’s accounts or the auditor’s adverse opinion on the legality and regularity of payment underlying the accounts. But actually, Commissioner Georgieva is doing one thing right in talking about performance-based budgeting, as it is not just about the high error rate that we see, it is also about whether money spent actually provides value for money.

There is one example in the Court of Auditors’ report that I find particularly instructive, in which it describes a sewage system in Greece: they built the plant, they built the network, but nobody had connected the system to people’s homes, even though the project had been six years in the making from 2007 to 2013. EU funds – taxpayers’ money – achieve nothing if a system cannot actually be used.

At the confirmation hearing over a year ago, before Commissioner Georgieva took office, I asked whether they had introduced failure criteria so that we would know whether a project was a success or a failure, in other words what it looked like.

Well in my view it is 40 years too late, but the Commission is actually talking about doing something about the problem. Here is my question: is this actually going to be implemented in a way which will be critical when needed? Will we shine a light, not just on fraud or errors but on bad planning? And as the 4.4% error rate is a drop in the ocean, metaphorically as well as in reality, we need to clean out the sewer.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

 
  
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  Inés Ayala Sender (S&D), pregunta de «tarjeta azul». Señor Arnott, solamente quería decirle que leyera bien los índices de error, porque no ha dicho la verdad.

Este año, el índice de error ha descendido con respecto al año pasado. Poco, como siempre ―porque siempre procuramos mejorar―, pero ha descendido. Es decir, que usted no puede decir lo contrario.

Del año pasado a este, el índice de error ha disminuido y no ha aumentado. Es poco, pero, aun así, por lo menos diga usted la verdad.

 
  
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  Jonathan Arnott (EFDD), blue-card answer. Classically, in this place, you are arguing against something that I did not say. I did not say that the error rate had gone up. It says in the report that it has gone from 4.5% to 4.4%, which is pretty much staying exactly the same, and that is only based on a statistical sample. We do not know whether it actually, overall, went up or went down. My point is that we have to look beyond just the error rate and actually look at the question of whether the money that is being spent is achieving its stated aim.

 
  
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  Olaf Stuger (ENF). Wat gebeurt er met een ondernemer die geen goedkeuring krijgt van zijn accountant? De volgende dag staat de belastingdienst op zijn stoep. Hij krijgt een boete en een waarschuwing. Maar niet bij de EU. De EU kan al twintig jaar door zonder dat de accountant, de Europese Rekenkamer, goedkeuring verleent. Dat is nu de EU in optima forma. Ze maakt heel veel regels en heel veel wetten, en alles en iedereen moet zich daaraan houden. Behalve de EU zelf. Kijk, daar kan Robert Mugabe nog wat van leren. Maar de Europese burger heeft het allemaal wel in de gaten en die haakt massaal af en zegt het vertrouwen op in deze EU. Dat is maar goed ook. De EU is op haar retour en dat houden we zo.

 
  
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  Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE). Doamnă președintă, doamna vicepreședintă a Comisiei ați vorbit despre un buget bazat pe performanță. Absolut de acord. Grupul PPE va elabora în următoarele săptămâni un document de poziție pe acest subiect.

Domnule președinte, ați menționat o nouă abordare concentrată pe rezultate. Din păcate, citind rapoartele Curții de Conturi, cel puțin cele pentru întreprinderile mixte, nu am observat acest lucru absolut deloc.

Nu se vorbește despre rezultate, nu se vorbește, de exemplu, despre evaluarea contribuției în natură, se menționează chiar rapoarte de audit care nu aduc niciun fel de clarificare în ceea ce privește erorile. Nu se vorbește nimic despre drepturile de proprietate intelectuală referitoare la proiectele care se derulează cu banii publici. Ba chiar mai mult, dacă comparăm cu rapoartele din 2013, 10% sunt diferite, restul textului este identic.

Deci, rugămintea ar fi ca ceea ce ați spus să se aplice în practică pentru rapoartele viitoare.

 
  
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  Georgi Pirinski (S&D). Madam President, with this year’s 38th Annual Report, the Court is inviting us to start applying an updated approach to our discharge procedure for determining whether the Commission has satisfactorily carried out its responsibilities for implementing the budget. Thus the report represents a most timely and valuable input to discharge: designing and putting into practice results-oriented budgeting is an urgent necessity so that citizens recognise that their money is being put to the best possible use.

In this regard, three features of the report deserve particular notice. The structuring of chapters to reflect the headings of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) which came into force in 2014 is a most valuable input towards the mid-term review of the MFF. Chapter 3 focuses on the extent to which the performance framework enables the Commission to monitor and steer progress towards Europe 2020. The stated purpose is that checking the legality and reliability of accounts is intended to assist in identifying risks affecting economy, efficiency and effectiveness. This is precisely the right focus for ever-better results-oriented budgeting, and it is here, I believe, that the Court deserves a particular word of thanks.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

 
  
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  Olaf Stuger (ENF), "blauwe kaart"-vraag. Ik zou graag een vraag willen stellen aan deze collega. Hij heeft een kleine samenvatting gegeven van het debat dat hier al twintig jaar wordt gevoerd en al twintig jaar is er geen enkele verbetering zichtbaar. Waarom denkt mijn collega, dat het nu, nu voor de twintigste keer in dit Parlement dit verhaal wordt gehouden, ineens wél beter zal gaan? Wat is er veranderd in de afgelopen twintig jaar dat erop wijst dat het in de toekomst wel goed zal gaan?

 
  
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  Georgi Pirinski (S&D), blue-card answer. In the briefest possible terms, I believe that the focus over the years has been a bit one-sided on error rates and observance of rules. This, of course, has to continue to be of particular concern. However, it should be used as an indicator to find sectors where programmes are not performing and there is an excessively high rate, and to reorientate the whole exercise of discharge towards results.

 
  
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  Richard Sulík (ECR). Je to rok čo rok tá istá pesnička. Európsky dvor audítorov zistí vysoký počet chýb, viac ako dvojnásobok toho, čo je povolené, a Európsky parlament to schváli. Dvadsaťjeden rokov po sebe. Pritom 60 % rozpočtu Európskeho dvora audítorov ide práve na túto správu, ktorú aj tak ctený Parlament ignoruje. Nebolo by oveľa rozumnejšie celý Európsky dvor audítorov zrušiť? Však je úplne zbytočný.

No a teraz k samotným výdavkom. Tam nie je len vysoká chybovosť tých výdavkov. Je tam aj obrovské množstvo korupcie. Tieto výdavky veľakrát prinášajú deformácie hospodárstva. Pani komisárka, keď chcete niečo po sebe zanechať, začnite tieto výdavky znižovať. Oni naozaj reálny rast neprinášajú. Koľko miliárd eur sa minulo na boj proti nezamestnanosti a aká je nezamestnanosť? Na to sa stačí pozrieť. To je úplne zbytočné prerozdeľovanie. Viem, že s pánom Junckerom to možné nebude, lebo ten by chcel stále viac míňať, ale možno sa nám aspoň niečo podarí.

(Rečník súhlasil, že odpovie na otázku položenú zdvihnutím modrej karty (článok 162 ods. 8 rokovacieho poriadku)).

 
  
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  Tomáš Zdechovský (PPE), otázka položená zvednutím modré karty. Pane Sulíku, když je někde nějaká velká míra korupce, co by měl udělat řádný občan? Měl by jít a měl by tuto korupci nahlásit příslušným orgánům.

Jestli víte, že Evropská unie je zkorumpovaná, tak proč nejdete a nenahlásíte a nepředložíte důkazy o této korupci? Myslím si, že když by člověk nebyl populista, tak je schopen tyto svoje důkazy předložit.

 
  
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  Richard Sulík (ECR), odpoveď na otázku položenú zdvihnutím modrej karty. Pán Zdechovský, no veď aj vy pochádzate z krajiny, kde tej korupcie je hodne, rovnako ako ja pochádzam z takej krajiny. Ja nehovorím, že Európsky parlament alebo Európsky dvor audítorov je skorumpovaný. Ani tá Európska komisia. Ale veď vo vašej, v našej, mojej a vo veľa ďalších krajinách, Bulharsko, Rumunsko, však tej korupcie je tam až-až. Preto, lebo tí ľudia sa k tomu stavajú tak, že tie peniaze padli z neba. Pýtate sa, prečo to nahlásiť? No napríklad, my sme podali vyše 50 trestných oznámení, vy možno tiež nejaké. Vieme, ako to dopadne, keď sa bavíme o peniazoch, ktoré nepatria nikomu.

 
  
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  Joachim Zeller (PPE). Frau Präsidentin! Ich bin Herrn Caldeira und dem Rechnungshof dankbar für den Bericht zur Haushaltsentlastung 2014. Ich halte ihn nicht für unnütz, ganz im Gegenteil. Was mich allerdings stört, ist, dass die Kommission vertreten ist, aber der Rat nicht. Die Ausgaben von 80 % der Mittel aus dem europäischen Haushalt werden getätigt über die Zahlstellen und die Mittelverwalter in den Mitgliedstaaten. Dort entstehen auch die Fehler. Ich denke also, dass auch der Rat interessiert sein müsste, gemeinsam mit uns diese Debatte zu führen, wie wir die weiterhin hohen Fehlerquoten senken könnten, denn das werden wir nur gemeinsam schaffen.

Das andere ist: Ich bin dem Rechnungshof sehr dankbar, dass er darauf hinweist, dass es eine Diskrepanz gibt zwischen den Zahlungen, die wir im letzten Jahr und auch in diesem Jahr noch tätigen, die sich auf die alte Förderperiode beziehen, während wir längst an der Zielerreichung von Europa2020 arbeiten müssten. Ich glaube, das ist auch eine Debatte, die wir in den nächsten Tagen und Monaten führen sollten.

 
  
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  Jens Geier (S&D). Jens Geier (S&D). Frau Präsidentin, sehr verehrter Herr Präsident Caldeira, liebe Vizepräsidentin Georgieva! Erst einmal auch von meiner Seite Dank für die Arbeit des Europäischen Rechnungshofs, die alles andere als unnütz ist, sondern uns immer wieder neue Hinweise darauf gibt, an welchen Stellen wir weiterarbeiten können.

Ich will auf zwei Bemerkungen eingehen, die Sie in Ihrer Vorstellung gemacht haben. Auf der einen Seite: Die Mitgliedstaaten nutzen die Informationen, die ihnen vorliegen, nicht ausreichend, um Fehler zu vermeiden. Auf der anderen Seite: Die Mitgliedsstaaten können nicht alle Mittel verwenden, die ihnen die EU zu Verfügung stellt. Meine Schlussfolgerung daraus ist: Einige Mitgliedstaaten geben sich im Rahmen der Verhandlungen über den mittelfristigen Finanzrahmen alle Mühe, möglichst viel Geld nach Hause zu bringen, und anschließend wissen sie nicht so recht, was sie eigentlich damit tun sollen.

Ich denke, eine Lösung liegt in der Revision des mittelfristigen Finanzrahmens, denn der EU-Haushalt ist nicht nur unterfinanziert, es ist offenbar auch so, dass seine Mittel falsch verteilt sind. Der zweite Punkt, den ich ansprechen will, ist der Zustand der nationalen Kontrollbehörden, die für die Ausgabe des EU-Gelds zuständig sind. Was wird die Kommission tun, um die Situation hier zu verbessern?

 
  
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  Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner (ECR). Arvoisa puhemies, maksujen kokonaisvirhetaso on toistuvasti, vuodesta toiseen, ollut korkealla tasolla. Tilanteeseen pitää saada parannus ja todellinen muutos. Jos näin ei tapahdu, vastuuvapauden myöntämisen edellytyksiä tulee arvioida kriittisemmin. Tilintarkastustuomioistuin on antanut jo 20 vuoden ajan maksujen laillisuudesta ja asianmukaisuudesta kielteisen lausunnon. Miettikää, mitä tapahtuisi yksityisessä yrityksessä, jos sen toiminnasta annettaisiin säännöllisesti ja rutiininomaisesti joka ikinen vuosi vastaavanlaisia lausuntoja yrityksen omistajille. Aika nopeasti kyllä löydettäisiin vastuuhenkilöt, ja seuraamukset olisivat ankarat.

Julkisen sektorin varojen hoitoon pitää saada uutta ja säästäväistä asennetta, enemmän jämäkkyyttä ja sitten myös vastuullisuutta. Julkisia varoja on käsiteltävä samalla tavoin kuin yksittäinen huolellinen henkilö hoitaa omia varojaan.

 
  
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  Tomáš Zdechovský (PPE). Evropský parlament a Evropský účetní dvůr již dlouhodobě upozorňují na nutnost komplexní reflexe evropského rozpočtu, který není sladěný s celkovou strategií Evropské unie. Využívání rozpočtu chybí vize, pohled do budoucna a uvažování v kontextu. Peníze se proto utrácejí, aby se utratily, a jejich přidaná hodnota je často limitována.

Dámy a pánové, proto jsem rád, že Evropský účetní dvůr vyslal ve svém auditu jasný signál, že je potřeba celkově přehodnotit strategii řízení finančních prostředků Evropské unie. V tuto chvíli je jasné, že musíme mít dlouhodobé cíle, které budou založeny na jednotě evropských států. Na společném smýšlení a na ochotě společně reagovat na nenadálé události, jako tomu bylo teď v Paříži. Musíme peníze investovat lépe, chytřeji a efektivněji. I to povede k efektivnějšímu využívání evropského rozpočtu.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D). Pani Przewodnicząca! Przede wszystkim bardzo dziękuję za rzetelne i potrzebne sprawozdanie. Niech mi wolno będzie nawiązać do pańskiego wystąpienia, panie Caldeira, mianowicie tam gdzie pan pisze, iż Unia Europejska powinna rozwiązać problem nagromadzonych zaległości finansowych, to jest bardzo ważna przestroga adresowana i do Komisji, i do Rady. Notabene szkoda, że Rady nie ma. Rok bieżący, 2015, będzie rokiem zamykającym poprzednią perspektywę, ale jednocześnie jesteśmy w drugim roku obecnej perspektywy, więc te płatności mogą się rzeczywiście dodatkowo kumulować, i to musimy uwzględnić. Panie prezesie, pan użył takich trzech postulatów: podstawą jest przejrzystość i uproszczenie przepisów. Otóż tutaj widzę jakiś konflikt, dlatego że często w imię przejrzystości komplikujemy przepisy. Jak pogodzić te dwie rzeczy? I ostatnie, bardzo popieram tę performance orientation.

 
  
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  Petri Sarvamaa (PPE). Madam President, I would like to thank the Court for this interesting report and especially for twining together budget efficiency and budgetary control, because they go hand in hand. Value for money is an essential phrase for both.

For the first time the Court put at least some emphasis on the performance of the budget, instead of mainly pointing to errors. This is what we have been asking for: more transparency in the use of money and finding systematic weaknesses in different areas of spending.

But this is only the beginning. So I encourage the Court to continue on the path it has chosen and to go much further next year. We need total transparency and country-specific information. That would be the way forward in achieving a budget focused on results and, not just that, to be able to justify to our citizens how we are dealing with our finances.

 
  
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  Ingeborg Gräßle (PPE). Frau Präsidentin, Herr Präsident Caldeira! Für manches, was hier von der Seite des Parlaments kam, müsste man sich ja beinahe entschuldigen. Ich kann nur sagen: Gott sei Dank sind diese Leute keine Mitglieder des Haushaltskontrollausschusses, und vielleicht wissen sie deswegen auch nicht, wovon sie reden.

Ich möchte Ihnen sehr herzlich danken für den sehr nützlichen Bericht. Ich würde mir persönlich mehr Empfehlungen wünschen, noch mehr Empfehlungen, so dass wir die auch dann weiter fortsetzen und verfolgen können. Wir haben es mit vielen altbekannten Problemen zu tun. Frau Vizepräsidentin, ich möchte Ihnen eines ans Herz legen, nämlich den Unterschied in der Fehlerquote bei den Strukturfonds zwischen der Kommission und dem Rechnungshof. Obwohl sich der Rechnungshof mit seinen Zahlen auf die Kommission zubewegt hat, gibt es immer noch einen beträchtlichen Unterschied, der mit methodologischen Unterschieden nicht mehr erklärbar ist, der nachhaltig Zweifel weckt an dem gesamten Kontrollsystem und vor allem auch am Kontrollwillen.

Ich möchte mich beim Rechnungshof herzlich bedanken für das Performance-Kapitel. Wenn wir ein Viertel der Strukturfondsprojekte haben, die keines der Politikziele erreichen, müssen wir uns schon Gedanken machen. Herzlichen Dank für dieses Kapitel und Ihre Arbeit!

 
  
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  Verónica Lope Fontagné (PPE). Señora Presidenta, el presupuesto europeo es un instrumento complejo y en constante evolución, y 2014, primer año del marco financiero actual, lo pone de manifiesto: nuevas normas, nueva orientación del gasto dirigido a los objetivos de la Estrategia 2020 y una presupuestación orientada al rendimiento.

El presupuesto debe orientarse para generar un valor añadido del gasto, y por ello tenemos que tener claros los objetivos y disponer de unos indicadores adecuados que tengan en cuenta las especificidades de los fondos europeos, ya que no es lo mismo una infraestructura que la ayuda para combatir la pobreza, cuyos resultados son muy difíciles de medir.

Por ello tenemos que simplificar las principales políticas de gastos, en particular aquellos destinados a pymes y particulares, que son más proclives al error, y fomentar una estrecha colaboración entre los actores involucrados en la gestión y el control, principalmente la Comisión Europea y los Estados miembros.

 
  
 

Interventions à la demande

 
  
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  Ivana Maletić (PPE). Gospođo predsjednice, pozdravljam povjerenicu, kolege izvjestitelje. Ono što je jako bitno primijetiti u ovom izvješću Revizorskog suda, i zahvaljujem na tome kolegama na Revizorskom sudu i predsjedniku, je da veliki dio nepravilnosti proizlazi iz nedostatka kontrola i slabo razvijenog sustava financijskog upravljanja, a isto tako i iz velikog broja različitih procedura i pravila za koja su potrebna dodatna tumačenja.

To je zapravo poziv svima nama, poziv Europskoj komisiji i poziv državama članicama da moramo raditi na jačanju administrativnih kapaciteta, na implementaciji sustava financijskog upravljanja na svim razinama. Dakle, moramo se fokusirati na jasno utvrđivanje ciljeva, na jasno utvrđivanje pravila i procedura koji će biti jednostavniji za krajnje korisnike i za čitavu administraciju kako bi broj nepravilnosti bio manji.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D). Pirmiausia iš tikrųjų ir aš norėčiau pasveikinti Audito Rūmus, kurie iš esmės pagerino savo metinių ataskaitų kokybę, ir jos yra itin svarbios prisidedant prie tinkamo Europos Sąjungos išteklių valdymo. Praeitais metais Sąjungos biudžetą sudarė net 150 milijardų eurų. Todėl itin svarbu mažinti aukštą mokėjimų klaidų lygį, kuris jau eilę metų viršija nustatytą 2 proc. ribą, kaip, pavyzdžiui, ekonominėje, socialinėje ir sanglaudos politikos srityse. Nepriimtina, kad Komisija ir valstybės narės nepasinaudoja visa jiems prieinama informacija ir neužkerta kelio klaidoms. Nepilnai yra įgyvendinamos Audito rūmų rekomendacijos, tai yra, Komisija turėtų nustatyti vienodus viešųjų pirkimų principus ir atrinkimo kriterijus visose valstybėse narėse, privalėtų prisiimti atsakomybę už reikiamų ir palyginamųjų duomenų apie panaudotas Europos Sąjungos lėšas surinkimą valstybėse narėse ir kiti. Taip pat svarbu, kad Komisija imtųsi aktyvesnių veiksmų siekiant susigrąžinti netinkamai išleistas sumas ir kartu su valstybėmis narėmis skubiai spręstų besikaupiančių, vėluojamų panaudotų lėšų klausimą. [kalbai skirtas laikas baigėsi]

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς ( ECR). Κυρία Πρόεδρε, η ετήσια έκθεση του Ελεγκτικού Συνεδρίου για το οικονομικό έτος 2014 θίγει ορισμένα σημαντικά ζητήματα.

Πρώτον, ζητά να υπάρξει μια εκ βάθρων νέα προσέγγιση στη διαχείριση των επενδύσεων και των δαπανών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Πολύ δε περισσότερο τώρα που η μερκελική λιτότητα έχει βυθίσει την Ευρώπη στην ύφεση και την ανεργία. Για τον λόγο αυτό χρειάζεται ένας πιο αποτελεσματικός τρόπος διαχείρισης των κονδυλίων της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

Δεύτερον, απαιτείται επικέντρωση των κονδυλίων της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης σε τομείς αιχμής, όπως η δημιουργία θέσεων εργασίας, η στήριξη των αγροτών και των μικρομεσαίων επιχειρήσεων, καθώς επίσης και η στήριξη της κοινωνικής και εδαφικής συνοχής.

Τρίτον, απαιτείται καλύτερη διαχείριση και έλεγχος του τρόπου διάθεσης των ευρωπαϊκών κονδυλίων, ιδίως όταν η ίδια η έκθεση του Ελεγκτικού Συνεδρίου αποκαλύπτει ότι το ποσοστό σφάλματος για τις δαπάνες ήταν της τάξης του 4,4%. Επομένως, πρέπει να ενταθεί ο έλεγχος κατά της απάτης και της διασπάθισης πόρων, όπως επίσης και για τα ποσά που δεν θα έπρεπε να έχουν καταβληθεί. Άρα, έλεγχος και διαφάνεια παντού.

 
  
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  Ivan Jakovčić (ALDE). Gospođo predsjednice, princip koji je iznesen danas ovdje, a to je da trebamo trošiti novac u skladu s našim dugoročnim ciljevima, jedini je ispravni princip, a kohezijska politika u tom kontekstu je jedan od naših principa, dugoročnih ciljeva odnosno stvaranje mogućnosti stabilnosti, rješavanja problema nezaposlenosti, razvoja pojedinih manje razvijenih dijelova naših država.

U nekim državama su strukturni fondovi najveće investicije. Novac koji dolazi iz tih fondova najviše pomaže razvoju tih država. I ovdje dolazimo do situacije koju ste vi konstatirali, a to je da nam je potrebna simplifikacija propisa. Potrebna je, ne zato da bismo time imali statistički bolje rezultate nego zato da bismo mogli apsorbirati sredstva koja su nam na raspolaganju, a koja su nam tako prijeko potrebna naročito u nekim zemljama na istoku i jugu Europske unije.

 
  
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  Barbara Kappel (ENF). Frau Präsidentin, Herr Präsident des Rechnungshofs, Frau Kommissarin! Im Jahresbericht 2014 kritisiert der Europäische Rechnungshof so wie jedes Jahr die Ausgabenpolitik der Europäischen Union. Von den Gesamtausgaben in Höhe von 142,5 Milliarden Euro sind 4,4 % oder knapp 6,3 Milliarden Euro fehlerhaft verwendet worden, rund 1 200 Fälle wurden zur Prüfung an die Betrugsbehörde OLAF weitergeleitet, 22 konkrete Betrugsverdachtsfälle werden geprüft.

Betrugsfälle sind aber nicht die Regel. Die meisten Regelverstöße und unberechtigten Mittelvergaben erfolgen bei Forschungsprojekten, bei Mittelvergaben an Wissenschaftler und in der Landwirtschaft, wenn zum Beispiel Waldgebiete als Weideland angemeldet werden, um höhere Fördermittel zu bekommen. Die volumenmäßig größten Fehlallokationen erfolgen bei den Mitteln der Strukturfonds.

Der Rechnungshof kritisiert in diesem Zusammenhang völlig zu Recht die mangelnde Kohärenz des EU-Haushalts mit den allgemeinen Zielvorgaben, zum Beispiel in Zusammenhang mit Europa 2020, die fehlenden konkreten Zielvorgaben, an denen der tatsächliche Nutzen der eingesetzten Mittel berechnet werden kann – zum Beispiel bei den Strukturfonds –, die mangelnde Flexibilität, auf Krisen zu reagieren – wir sehen das bei der Migrationskrise –, die Vergabepraxis bei öffentlichen Aufträgen und die mangelnde Sorgfaltspflicht und der geringe Mittelausschöpfungsgrad gerade bei einigen Mitgliedstaaten, insbesondere in der Regionalpolitik und in der Landwirtschaft.

 
  
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  Patricija Šulin (PPE). Hvala za besedo, predsedujoča. Hvala Računskemu sodišču za poročilo.

Stopnja napak torej znaša tudi tokrat 4,4 %. To je pomembna informacija. Proračun Evropske unije je zelo pomemben. Skrbi za gospodarsko rast, delovna mesta in za zaposlovanje. Predstavlja tudi dodano vrednost vsake države članice, zato morajo le-te cilje skrbno izpolnjevati.

Vsekakor je tudi zelo pomemben nadzor nad porabo proračunskih sredstev. Pri tem je treba skrbeti za transparentnost, verodostojnost in sem tudi vesela, da uporabljamo visoke standarde za ugotavljanje napak. Vsekakor mora biti nadzor tudi učinkovit.

Bi pa opozorila na to, da nas stopnja napak 4,4 % mogoče opozarja na to, da bi morala biti pravila mogoče jasnejša in nedvoumna. Le tako bomo lahko zmanjšali stopnjo napak.

 
  
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  Gerolf Annemans (ENF). Wie de Europese Unie met een voldoende kritische blik durft te beschouwen en dus niet gehinderd wordt door een ideologische chantage die de voorstanders van de Europese Unie plegen met begrippen als vrede en welvaart - en ik ben zo iemand - die moet ik de lezing van dit verslag sterk aanbevelen. De wandeling door het woud van een onnoemelijk aantal steunfondsen, garantiefondsen en investeringsfondsen die vol met miljarden - wat mij betreft Vlaams belastinggeld - zitten en waarvoor wij meer bepaald als Vlamingen weinig terugkrijgen, die wandeling is opzienbarend.

Immers, België staat op de derde plaats van de 28 lidstaten wat betreft de bijdrage per inwoner. Mijn partij berekende bovendien dat wegens de transfersituatie binnen België niemand meer betaalt aan de Europese Unie dan de Vlaming. Meer dan vier procent van al dat geld belandde in 2014 niet waar het moest, dubbel zoveel als wat de Rekenkamer aanvaardbaar achtte. De geur van willekeur en je-m'en- foutisme die uit het verslag opstijgt, zegt genoeg. Wie niet te beroerd is om de waarheid onder ogen te zien, moet het verslag gelezen hebben.

 
  
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  Tibor Szanyi (S&D). A Számvevőszék jelentésének mezőgazdasági fejezetéhez szeretnék egy pár szót hozzátenni – már csak azért is, mert ritka az a pillanat, amikor az Európai Parlamentben jó szóval tudjuk illetni akár a számvevőszéki vizsgálatot végző szakembereket, akár pedig magát az Európai Bizottságot, amelyik ugye a kiadások végrehajtásáért volt felelős.

2014 egy átmeneti esztendő volt, hiszen a régi szabályok és az új szabályok egyaránt vegyültek ebben az esztendőben. Ennek dacára sikerült a hibás elszámolásoknak az arányát soha nem látott történelmi minimumra, 2% körülire csökkenteni. Én úgy gondolom, hogy ezek az eredmények valóban azért azt jelentik, hogy tud működni az európai intézményrendszer pont a legnehezebb területen.

Mindazonáltal tagadhatatlan, hogy közeledünk a féléves felülvizsgálat idejéhez, és ilyenkor azért tartalmilag is illik majd néhány szót szólnunk a különböző kiadásokhoz. Az biztos, hogy a mezőgazdasági résznél az a pénz, amit az európai adófizetők költenek, az tényleg a földművesekhez kell, hogy menjen, nem szabad tovább utalni. Köszönöm szépen a lehetőséget!

 
  
 

(Fin des interventions à la demande)

 
  
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  Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the Commission. Madam President, my most sincere thanks to all who have spoken. It is a very interesting debate this year, because what I am hearing is a predominant concern about how we can rebalance attention between compliance with the rules and what the budget actually delivers for our people. I think it is very important that we take this focus on performance extremely seriously.

The EU budget actually has been doing good things, if you take the growth rates of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, for example. Over the last MFF they have been boosted for Poland by 1.7%, for Latvia by 2.1% and for Lithuania by 1.8%.

As the Budget Commissioner this year, I have been visiting projects funded by the EU: cancer research in Finland, SME support in the UK, connectivity of citizens in the cohesion countries and rural internet, but I also have seen that sometimes there has not been enough thought put into how this particular project connects with the rest of the economy, and there are examples where we could have – and must – do better. I think that a culture shift in thinking as regards what we get for the money has to be our overwhelming objective. Agility, focus on priorities, impact – this is what the discussion on the budget absolutely must be on.

We do have now in the new MFF a better platform, because we have placed performance front and centre. We introduced performance reserve – 6% of the money we hold back, and if you do well, we give you more money. We have to work with our people in the Commission and, of course, in the Member States on a culture shift. This is not an easy thing, but it is a must if we are to be successful in making the best use of our taxpayers’ sacrifices. For every project, for every penny, we have to ask ourselves if this is the best use of money. I really appreciate each and every one of you who spoke in support of this rebalancing.

It does not mean we turn our backs on compliance with the rules – not at all. Rules are there to be followed. Right now they are too complicated to be followed! We have multiple projects with thousands and thousands of people who have to grasp the concept of project management that we have introduced from the EU – a concept that may be easy for some, but it is certainly not easy for a small farmer or for an SME owner, so we have to work on simplifying the rules so they can be followed, and then we have to come with a hammer when the rules are not followed.

I agree with those who have said that the persistence of the error rate is something that is undermining the credibility of the European Union. We know why this persistence is there. Rules are part of the problem, but so is how much commitment we build on to make sure that these rules are indeed followed.

As I have said many times, we also have to find a way to reward those who take measures to correct errors, because this is what it is in the majority of cases – error, not fraud. Proven fraud is 0.2% of our budget – 0.2% too much. I am not at all defending it, but what about the remaining 4.2%? How do we encourage people to do what the Court tells us could be done if you take corrective measures and the error rate will go down? There we hit a problem, which is the multiannual nature of our programmes. When an error is detected in one year but only corrected in the next, that is not reflected in the error rate, and this is why in the Commission we strongly recommend that we think about a residual error rate as an acceptable measurement, because if people take measures to correct, then that should be a positive thing. We should be saying bravo, we recognise you have done it. At the moment it is difficult to do it in a multiannual fashion. We are caught in this annuality in how we measure.

Finally, I do agree that we have to persistently balance performance and compliance. We should avoid the reasoning according to which focusing on performance is somehow interpreted to mean ‘oh well, compliance with the rules is not that important’ – it is important!

Let me finish with the question that was posed to me on ‘name and shame’. Well, it is complicated as to which Member States are performing the worst. If you look at the Court of Auditors’ report, there is a table that shows frequency of detected errors in audit sampling for 2014 for the Member States. It is very clear that it varies from one area to another. In some areas some countries are doing better, in others they are doing worse. So I would be very reluctant to make general sweeping conclusions but rather say the following: we have to work with Member States day in, day out, because at the end of the day, 80% of our money goes in shared management, and it is only when Member States buy into being diligent and working with us that we can achieve that objective.

Finally, many thanks go to the Court of Auditors for the report that it has presented. A lot of it is something that has been coming up year after year, but we are now seeing a very welcome change of direction towards performance. We have, with this interinstitutional group, a very important task to see performance eye to eye, because the worst thing we can do is to have a different interpretation of what performance means and then get into not very productive arguments about who is right and who is wrong on what has been achieved in that area.

So I very much look forward to working with Parliament, the Council and the Court of Auditors on giving a very clear direction for the Commission – though the Commission is not the most important actor – and for those who implement projects, so we get the European budget to serve our people the best possible way in the future.

 
  
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  Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira, Court of Auditors. Madam President, I would like first to thank you for the kind words addressed to the European Court of Auditors; on behalf of all those working there, thank you. Your words encourage us to do better and to practise what you preach. We do that every day, so I want to reassure Mr Marinescu that we are doing that and striving for it.

I am very pleased to hear from the Vice-President that the Commission greatly welcomes our call for a wholly new approach to the European Union’s spending and investment. I am also pleased to see the broader consensus in this House on the need for that new approach. We simply cannot ignore the fact that it is a common task that needs interinstitutional cooperation from all institutions within Member States, because it is the best possible way to tackle the financial challenges ahead of us. I stress the need to use the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework and to take it as a golden opportunity to make progress.

Members of Parliament have raised a number of issues in their speeches. I will not address every one of them, but I am encouraged by their willingness to reach a greater common understanding of what a new approach means, what a culture of performance means, and what we are looking for. That is something which will not be done overnight and which needs to go hand in hand with simplification of the rules as well as with clear objectives. I have understood the call for ways of reconciling transparency and simplification. This needs to be addressed in the best way possible. We need simplification because debt is amplifying the risk of error, but we also need to be transparent so that we can then say what we are achieving with the funds we are investing. So we have to have, first and foremost, a clear overall framework that provides direction. But we also need to be aware that spending funds is always risky.

I am sorry to say this so bluntly, but geography is not the root cause of the errors. As we have demonstrated, management modes are, likewise, not the main cause of the problem. The main reason for the errors that we have found, and for their persistently high level, lies in the way this House and the Council decide on the legal framework for reimbursing costs. If you continue to have costs reimbursed on the basis of self-declarations by the final beneficiaries, then you will always have a higher risk of error. Simplification does not mean forgetting about control. It needs to have cost-effective arrangements to ensure that we comply with the rules but, at the same time, we need to ensure that these are used to the best effect. Then performance has a key part to play. What we are intending to measure is the interinstitutional work that we have to do.

Flexibility is also an important consideration, so some Members estimate. I think that it is also vital to better address the backlogs which we have identified and which have been recognised on all sides. We need to use the budget in a more flexible way, together with all the financial instruments available, otherwise we will have funds committed but not being used. We know that at the end of 2014, the funds not yet used by all the Member States for the structural and investment funds were of the order of 23% of the total.

That situation is better today, I believe, but that means that we are not making full use of resources, and there are reasons beyond that. Probably there are administrative capacities to develop. Probably there is also a need for Member State authorities to identify sustainable approaches that would make a difference to the lives of their citizens. In addition, a lot needs to be done to determine what makes a difference to citizens, for they will not think that building, say, a water-park is enough to make a difference. We need to see how sustainable approaches work and how they change citizens’ lives.

I would like to conclude by saying that our call for a wholly new approach has to be followed up in interinstitutional dialogues, because that is the only way in which we can help to address the new challenges. It is the only way to tackle the long-standing issues that we have, but we need to take the opportunity afforded by the mid-term review of the MFF to move forward. We look forward to contributing to the dialogue and we stand side by side with this institution, the European Parliament, to further cooperate in that direction. But we cannot fail. If we miss this opportunity, we shall be failing to address the trust of citizens, and that is a crucial point in these times.

 
  
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  La Présidente. – Le débat est clos.

Declarations ecrites (article 162)

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), na piśmie. W swoim sprawozdaniu za 2014 rok Europejski Trybunał Obrachunkowy wzywa do przyjęcia nowego podejścia w kwestiach zarządzania środkami UE i ich inwestowania. Zgodnie z jego wytycznymi budżet powinien być lepiej dostosowany do długoterminowych priorytetów Wspólnoty i w większym stopniu uwzględniać możliwe sytuacje kryzysowe. Ponadto Unia powinna bezzwłocznie rozwiązać problem zaległości finansowych, tak aby uwolnić środki i skierować je tam, gdzie są one niezbędne. Część państw członkowskich nadal ma problemy z absorbcją przydzielanych im unijnych funduszy strukturalnych.

Łączny budżet UE w 2014 r. to 142,5 mld euro, a poziom błędu w przypadku wydatków unijnych wyniósł 4,4%. Pomimo to kontrolerzy uznali, że nie mają zastrzeżeń w kwestiach wiarygodności rozliczeń i w dochodach UE. Wykryli taki sam szacowany poziom błędu (4,6%) w przypadku wydatków objętych zarządzaniem dzielonym z państwami członkowskimi, jak w przypadku wydatków zarządzanych bezpośrednio przez Komisję. Najwyższe poziomy błędu wystąpiły w wydatkach w ramach działów „Spójność gospodarcza, społeczna i terytorialna” (5,7%) i „Konkurencyjność na rzecz wzrostu gospodarczego i zatrudnienia” (5,6%). Najniższy szacowany poziom błędu wystąpił natomiast w wydatkach administracyjnych (0,5%). Sprawozdanie podkreśla jednak, że istniała możliwość skorygowania większej ilości błędów i wzywa Komisję do pełnego wykorzystania jej uprawnień w celu dalszego obniżenia poziomu błędu i odzyskania większych kwot nieprawidłowo wydanych środków.

 
  
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  Paloma López Bermejo (GUE/NGL), por escrito. Considero que la presentación de este informe es una oportunidad de gran importancia para examinar detenidamente las debilidades en la definición e implementación de las políticas europeas. Voy a detenerme en dos puntos fuertemente interrelacionados. En primer lugar, muchas veces la UE ha favorecido el desarrollo de infraestructuras gigantescas de dudosa utilidad. Es reseñable el caso de los aeropuertos, pero la misma falta de planificación y coordinación se encuentra en otros ámbitos de la política de transporte y energía, bajo el dudoso planteamiento de que las infraestructuras acabarán por crear su propio mercado. El segundo son las dificultades de las administraciones públicas, especialmente locales, que realmente desean implementar políticas públicas alternativas, por las trabas administrativas y las necesidades financieras implícitas en la adopción de proyectos europeos. Existe una necesidad de repensar los fondos europeos para garantizar su uso eficiente y su contribución real a la mejora de la cohesión social y regional a través de la transformación del modelo productivo. Finalmente, quería referirme a la importancia de identificar no solo fallos de gestión sino también legislativos. El caso de los pastos, por ejemplo, evidencia la necesidad de reformar la política agraria para adaptarla realmente a las condiciones ambientales sobre el terreno.

 
  
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  Julia Pitera (PPE), na piśmie. Zadaniem Trybunału, niezależnego, zewnętrznego audytora UE, jest badanie, czy pozyskanie i wydatkowanie funduszy unijnych jest zgodne z zasadami gospodarności, wydajności i skuteczności. Jest to szczególnie ważne w czasach kryzysu, gdy w następstwie narastających problemów pojawia się naturalny w trudnych sytuacjach spadek zaufania Europejczyków do Unii. Dlatego systematyczne podnoszenie poziomu rozliczalności i transparentności w procesie nadzoru nad wykorzystaniem środków publicznych jest tak istotne na drodze do odbudowy tego zaufania. Ogromne znaczenie ma również ścisła współpraca między parlamentami państw członkowskich a audytorami publicznymi Unii.

W procesie budowania zaufania do instytucji unijnych, poza dążeniem do jak największej przejrzystości i gospodarności, istotne znaczenie ma celowość wydatków. Fundusze publiczne muszą być przeznaczane na cele najważniejsze dla obywateli. Zwłaszcza że budżet Unii Europejskiej jest poważnym źródłem potencjalnych inwestycji dla wielu państw członkowskich. Stanowią znaczące wsparcie dla krajowych inicjatyw nie tylko w zakresie poprawy wydajności gospodarki, ale w tworzeniu miejsc pracy, zabezpieczania granic czy ochrony środowiska.

Dążąc do jak najlepszej realizacji swoich zadań, ETO powinien stale analizować i formułować wnioski z nich wynikające. Dlatego z zadowoleniem należy przyjąć wezwanie ETO do przyjęcia nowego podejścia w zarządzaniu inwestycjami i wydatkami środków UE poprzez wprowadzenie szeregu istotnych zmian w działaniach podmiotów odpowiadających za kontrolę środków unijnych.

 
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