Cohesion policy Frequently Asked Questions


9. What safeguards are there to prevent fraud?

National and regional authorities have to meet certain basic requirements before any project can be granted money from the Structural Funds or the Cohesion Fund. To start with, they must identify which body will perform the following functions for each national and regional programme:

  1. managing authority – ensures that conditions for awarding grants have been met and regularly checks that spending plans are adhered to;
  2. certifying authority – submits statements of expenditure and payment requests to the Commission. It checks that payment requests are accurate and based on reliable accounting systems that comply with national and European rules;
  3. audit authority – audits systems and checks projects. It informs the managing and certifying authorities of any gaps or irregularities it may have detected in spending.

When significant weaknesses are detected, the Commission and the national authorities will agree on a plan of action to redress the situation. If the national authorities do not take prompt action, the Commission may stop or suspend payments. The Commission also takes account of audits by the European Court of Auditors and investigations by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).