“We need European institutions to send a clear signal to EU citizens and tax payers that EU funds are to be used in a responsible and accountable manner, with full respect to the principle of sound financial management”. This was stated by Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna, when addressing members of the CONT committee as well as the Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger at the European Parliament, in Brussels.
Minister Scicluna was representing the Economic and Financial Affairs Council during the meeting of the Budgetary Control (CONT) Committee of the European Parliament, where he presented the Council recommendation on the discharge to be given to the Commission for the implementation of the 2015 budget.
Minister Scicluna highlighted the Council’s disappointment at the estimated level of error of 3.8%, as reported by the European Court of Auditors for 2015 payments, however, he noted that the Council welcomed the positive opinion given by the Court on the reliability of the annual accounts of the European Union, and that the error was lower than the previous financial cycle.
He conveyed the Council’s appreciation of the efforts taken by member states to address issues related to non-compliance with procurement rules. Minister Scicluna reiterated on the importance of having better, rather than more controls, as the cost of control might outweigh the benefits of such programmes.
The Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna called on the European Commission to identify weaknesses in control systems and to take or propose appropriate actions, such as simplification of provisions and improvement of controls. Furthermore, he thanked both Commission and Court for promoting the importance of performance.
Photo credit: MFIN