Commission accepts criticism of Court of Auditors’ report

The European Commission has accepted the criticism of the EU Court of Auditors’ annual report on expenditure in 2000. EU Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer said that the report is seen as an encouragement for the Commission to continue on the path of internal reform.

The Court of Auditors’ 24th Annual Report for the financial year 2000 consists of:

  • a report on activities financed from the general budget;
  • a report on the activities of the sixth, seventh and eighth European Development Funds.

The report contains observations on the following areas:

  • own resources,
  • the common agricultural policy,
  • structural measures,
  • internal policies,
  • external actions,
  • pre-accession aid,
  • administrative expenditure,
  • financial instruments,
  • and banking activities.

The Court delivered positive statements of assurance in several fields: revenue, the reliability of the accountancy, commitments, administrative expenditure and expenditure under the European Development Fund. It did not, however, deliver a positive statement of assurance on non-administrative expenditure of the general budget.

Commissioner Schreyer stressed that this “in no way implies that in the programmes in which they found errors taxpayers’ money was used fraudulently, that one would not know where it went, or that it was mismanaged or wasted”.

She has welcomed the Court’s support for the Commission’s proposal on the recasting of the Financial Regulation, which is seen as one of the most important steps in improving the financial management of EU funds. She expressed hope that the European Parliament and the Council will decide soon on this proposal.

The Commission stressed that it is engaged in actions leading to the recuperation of significant amounts of funds. In agriculture, for example, 626 million euros improperly spent by the Member States were recovered by the Commission in 2000 through the ‘clearing of accounts’.

Commissioner Schreyer also pointed out that the Member States manage, in partnership with the Commission, more than 80 percent of the EU budget and the remarks of the Court concern them as much as the Commission.

 

The Court of Auditors publishes an Annual Report every year as part of the EU's discharge procedure (Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 88 of the Financial Regulation). The discharge is granted by the European Parliament, on the recommendations of the Council. The Commission then gives an account of the steps it has taken to respond to the observations set out in the European Parliament's resolutions accompanying the discharge decisions and to the comments accompanying the Council's recommendations.

 

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