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Commission welcomes European Parliament's positive vote on discharge for the 2010 budget

The Commission welcomes today's decision by the European Parliament to grant discharge to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the 2010 budget.

Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud, said: "I greatly appreciate the support that the European Parliament has shown today for our work to ensure that EU funds are correctly controlled and managed. The very constructive dialogue between our two institutions in the run up to today's vote has confirmed a common ambition to ensure that EU taxpayers' money is spent properly, and spent well. Huge improvements have been made over the past 10 years but we can't stop here. The Commission has tabled even stronger measures for EU financial management under the next generation of spending programmes, which will help to reduce errors even further. I count on the co-legislators, Parliament and Council to back these measures, so that we can continue to assure citizens that we are doing everything in our power to protect their money."

Today's decision to grant discharge to the Commission for the management of EU funded programmes comes at a critical moment when discussions between the European Parliament (EP) and the Council on future EU programmes are advanced. This positive decision is the result of very constructive discussions which allowed all institutions involved – the Parliament, the Council and the Commission- to underline the recent progress made, as well as to look at where further improvements are required.

The Commission has already taken many steps in its proposals for the next generation of programmes (2014-2020) tabled in early autumn 2011. These include:

  • Simpler rules, which are easier to apply and easier to check for compliance, thereby reducing the risk of errors;
  • More transparent reporting and enhanced accountability requirements for Member States, who will have to submit every year a statement of assurance on their accounts and systems performance, verified by an independent auditor;
  • A new system for monitoring progress in achieving set targets i.e. by setting objectives and key performance indicators in each of the proposals made for the next financial period;
  • Stricter preventive and corrective measures: the Commission will be able to interrupt payments for up to 9 months and would be entitled to cancel definitely some or all of the EU funding for a programme if Member States fail to address in a timely manner serious weaknesses in their systems.

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