European Court of Auditors 2012 Annual Report: interview with Kersti Kaljulaid
Luxembourg [town] - European Court of Auditors
On 5 November 2013, Kersti Kaljulaid, Member of the European Court of Auditors, gave an interview related to the European Court of Auditors 2012 Annual Report.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite (in ENGLISH) by Kersti Kaljulaid, Member of the European Court of Auditors, replying to the question "Is EU financial management getting better or worse? ": What I can say is that all over the years, the EC has considerably more information about the financial management of the EU. It relies on the Court of Auditors providing quantified data on the financial management year to year. It relies on Member States providing information on what they have found when they have been managing the EU funds in the Member States but all in all taking together this influx of new information only makes us more aware what and where is going wrong. It hasn't yet had the influence on the underlying situation.
||Soundbite (in ENGLISH) by Kersti Kaljulaid replying to the question "Who is at fault here, the EC or the Member States?": The EC always has the final responsibility over the financial management of the EU budget. This is what the Treaty says but the Treaty also says this that shared management is an important part of the EU management of the funds, shared management means it takes two to tango. Commission has its limits. Commission can't point out to the Member States the weaknesses of the systems but the Commission cannot go and check every project at the Member States level, it is the Member States' obligations to make sure that they do not declare erroneous expenditure toward the Commission. Shared management is called shared management exactly because of that, the two sides carry the responsibility.
||Soundbite (in ENGLISH) by Kersti Kaljulaid replying to the question "Does the Commission always recover the EU money that is wrongly spent?": That is an interesting question. For example, financial correction reported by the EC for 2012 includes financial correction to Spain in the volume of 1.8 billions euros that makes an ordinary reader to think that. Indeed this money was retrieved from the Member States by the Commission. In the reality if your read the Annual Report of the Court you find that 155 millions euros was lost for Spain and that only because they could not have any more expenditure declared because the time ran out, the period for the last expenditure period was over. That means 1.8 billion reported as a financial corrections, 155 millions lost and not because the rule said it should be lost but because the Member States did not have time to declare. That is the current system of the financial corrections. So the money is not gained back by the Commission, Member States declare new expenditures but the caution is "Is the new expenditure now correct? It remains to wait for the closure to see whether it works. But the Court in previous years has reported that there are also problems with the expenditure which was the replacement expenditure for the original wrong expenditure.