PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR EU PRESIDENCY 2017 AND EU FUNDS

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg addresses European Parliament on the implementation of the EU budget for the financial year 2015: describes EU budget as an important tool for achieving the policy objectives

Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg has addressed the European Parliament in Brussels during the important debate on the implementation of the EU budget for the financial year 2015, in the context of the annual discharge procedure as foreseen in Article 319 of the Treaty.

In his introduction, Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg referred to the efficient use of EU funds, and said that the delivery of good results is particularly important, given that it is on this basis that the public forms its perception of actions financed from the EU budget. He appealed to Member States to continue cooperating with the Commission, as well as to give priority to increasing the quality of first level checks; this in order to prevent or detect errors, and correct them prior to declaring expenditure to the Commission.

Dr. Borg said the Council welcomes the Court of Auditors’ finding that non-compliance with public procurement rules had decreased when compared to preceding years. This is indeed a reflection of the efforts made by the Commission and Member States to address weaknesses in this area. In this regard, simplification of rules remains crucially important in order to achieve a lower level of error, as Dr. Borg noted.

Parliamentary Secretary Borg said that in all this, the Council was not only looking at the past, but was also looking to the future. He called on the Commission to prepare and publish, on an annual basis, a long-term and transparent forecast covering budgetary ceilings, estimated payment obligations, and needs until the end of the current MFF, as well as capacity constraints and potential de-commitments. Moreover clear, exhaustive, and timely information about the needs for payment appropriations and the availability of funds in the annual budget, needed to be provided.

Referring to the work being done by the European Court of Auditors, Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg said it was also clear that the current situation was still far from the overall aim of an unqualified audit opinion from the Court. The Council therefore reiterates its wish to see year-on-year improvements in the financial management systems, and in the estimated level of errors across all policy areas.

A more careful management of EU funds, as well as better forecasting of long-term funding requirements was a must, said Parliamentary Secretary Borg, as European citizens and taxpayers need a clear signal that EU funds are being used in a responsible and accountable manner.

In his conclusion, Dr. Borg said that the EU budget was an important tool for achieving the policy objectives agreed upon. We need results, notably in terms of growth, jobs and investment, stronger entrepreneurship, and a more competitive Europe.

The quality of EU spending is improving, and the EU budget is on track in delivering its expected results � a message that needed to reach all European citizens and taxpayers, concluded Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg.

Source: Government of Malta