Interview with Milan Martin Cvikl, Member of the European Court of Auditors
Luxembourg [town] - European Court of Auditors
On 10 December 2013, Milan Martin Cvikl, Member of the European Court of Auditors, gave an interview on the European Court of Auditors' Special Report n°11/2013.
This report calls for the European Commission to focus its checks on major components of Gross National Income (GNI) provided by Member States and on those where there is a risk that the quality of data may be lower. The recommendations in the report would help ensure that the Member States’ contributions to the EU budget are correctly calculated and fairly based. It would also improve the effectiveness of the Commission’s work. The Commission has accepted the need for action.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Panel "Improvements needed in checks on data for Member States' budget contributions", says EU Auditors
||Soundbite by Milan Martin Cvikl, Member of the European Court of Auditors, (in ENGLISH): Gross national income (GNI) data are a basis for establishing the value that we create in the individual Member States, but they are also the basis for the most important part of the EU budget. Last year, 98 billion Euro, or 70% of the EU budget, was paid on the basis of the data. Second, they are important because GNI data, once converted to GDP, are also the basis for today’s policy decisions; fiscal policy makers use these data when they make decisions about excessive deficits, and last but not least they are also important as a basis for allocating funds for cohesion among the Member States as well as for calculating individual Member States' contributions to the UK rebate, etc.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH) asking a question: "Why does the quality of the data matter?"
||Soundbite (in ENGLISH) by Milan Martin Cvikl answering to the question of the Journalist: Well, the quality of the data is connected with ensuring that contribution made by the individual Member States to the EU budget is fair. Any understatement or overstatement by a Member State would mean another Member State paying more or less, and here in the EU the Commission should ensure the quality of GNI data, and we audit how the Commission is performing that function.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH) asking a question: "And are some Member States paying too much or too little in their contributions to the EU budget?"
||Soundbite (in ENGLISH) by Milan Martin Cvikl answering to the question of the Journalist: What we have done in our audit is that we found, after looking at selected components in the five Member States that we visited, some mistakes that were not detected by the Commission. While this does not change the overall picture, it could change individual Member States' contributions, and in this context, yes, we have said that the individual Member State’s contribution would have been different had these mistakes been detected by the Commission earlier. But this is now all water under the bridge.
||Soundbite by a Journalist (in ENGLISH) asking a question: "OK, what does the Court of Auditors recommend should happen?"
||Soundbite (in ENGLISH) by Milan Martin Cvikl answering to the question of the Journalist: We would like to ensure that there should be complete fairness in the calculation of the individual Member State’s contribution. For that, the Commission's approach should be improved and we made a couple of recommendations. One, the Commission should focus on the risky components. Second, the Commission should carry out more work into areas such as the underground economy and services provided to households, where better work could be done by the Member States’ National Statistical Institutes, and third, the Commission should also report more clearly on what they have found. On behalf of the Court, we are happy that the Commission is taking on board our recommendations, that they believe there is a need for action, and in 2015, when a new verification cycle starts, the Commission indicates that it is taking our recommendations on board and we would then be able, on that basis, to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of the EU budget.