Press conference by the Court of Auditors on the Special Report on Seaports

Type: Complete press conference   Reference: I-073117   Duration: 10:39:26  Lieu:
End production: 25/04/2012   First transmission: 25/04/2012
On 25 April 2012, Ovidiu Ispir, Member of the European Court of Auditors, gave a press conference on the Special Report on Seaports, in Brussels. Structural Funds represent about one-third of the EU budget. During the 2000-2006 and 2007-2013 programming periods, 475 billion Euro were allocated to Structural Funds. Management of Structural Funds expenditure is shared between the Commission and the Member States. Member States prepare multi-annual programmes which are assessed and approved by the Commission and later implemented by the Member States. The Commission has to ensure that Member States have smoothly functioning management and control systems so that EU funds are efficiently and correctly used. The Commission bears the ultimate responsibility for the implementation of the EU budget.

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10:00:00 General atmosphere prior the press conference 00:32:56
10:32:56 Soundbite by Ovidiu Ispir, Member of the European Court of Auditors (in ENGLISH) saying that the European Court of Auditors concludes in its special report (No. 4/2012) that only 11 of the 27 audited transport infrastructures in seaports’ projects co-financed by the Structural and Cohesion Funds in the 2000-06 programme period were effective. In addition, a third of the projects audited had nontransport related objectives. As well as ineffective projects, the Court found that some projects were not in use and 4 significant projects with a value of 70.8 % of the total amount audited had not been completed at the time of the audit. Out of the 23 completed projects, eleven had been completed on time but 12 experienced an average construction delay of 26 months. Furthermore, five of the completed projects, representing almost half of the amounts audited, will need considerable further investment before they can be put into effective use. The ECA makes a number of recommendations to the Commission to improve the effectiveness of investments in seaports. These include: reminding Member States of their obligation to use EU funding in a way compatible with the tenets of sound financial management. To do so, the Commission should provide appropriate guidance and disseminate best practices found in Member States, especially encouraging the systematic use of result and impact indicators by Managing authorities; introducing the principle that EU funding should be conditional upon the attainment of planned results and ensure that on-the spot visits made also focus on effectiveness issues; strengthening the assessment procedure for Major Projects and Cohesion Fund Projects to improve the detection of serious weaknesses and the taking of appropriate action to remedy them; making Cohesion Policy aid for the coming period conditional upon the existence of a comprehensive long term port development strategy (based on an assessment of needs) for all the ports of the relevant region. 00:06:30
10:39:26 Questions/Answers session 00:26:56
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