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 Full text 
Monday, 15 May 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Annual report 2015 on the protection of EU's financial interests - Fight against fraud (debate)

  Ali Nedzhmi, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, first of all, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on the comprehensive report and the Commissioner on her statement. We are still struggling to overcome the effects of the recent financial and economic crisis and some of the consequences associated with the decrease in confidence of European citizens towards the institutions. This dramatically increases the role of the protection of the European Union’s financial interests as one of the most relevant ways to restore its attractiveness.

In the relevant annual report 2015 there are several aspects that are of the utmost importance for the achievement of the main goal of the protection of the EU’s financial interests. Firstly, the total number of irregularities detected both by the Commission and the Member States is increasing for a second consecutive year. While there could be different reasons for this fact – including better control, an increased level of spending or simply a rise in fraudulent activities – we need better preventive work by the institutions.

Secondly, the anti-fraud measures undertaken by the EU institutions in Member States should target both the revenue and expenditure sides of the budget. The final goal is to secure better revenue permitting the implementation of stronger policies, while keeping the irregularities in expenditure under control increases the credibility of the institutions.

Thirdly, from a managerial point of view, we need a full implementation of a budget focused on results strategy. In the process of designing and implementing management and control systems, cost effectiveness should be pursued. This means that the control strategies should target predominantly the areas with a high risk and error rate. Thus the control would support the achievement of results without imposing an excessive administrative burden on beneficiaries.

Finally, I would like to underline again the importance of the efforts made by both the Commission and Member States in the protection of the EU’s financial interests. All of the fraudulent cases raise public attention and damage the reputation of the Union. The proper functioning of the preventive and corrective mechanisms and adequate action taken by the Commission services to protect the EU budget are indispensable in achieving major results in the fight against fraud.

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