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Europe is the huge home of the old and the new democracies which guarantee the freedom and prosperity of all citizens within the Union. Ironically, the name 'Europe' is given to us by the Phoenicians from which emerge associations for the material and the money. Centuries later, the European Union is an example for all mankind to the rule of law and moral values. The coordinates of a better life, guaranteed human rights and freedoms are all here. Each resident of the European Union must feel the European Parliament as a guarantor of human achievements which give freedom, prosperity, peace. This Parliament is the heart of democracy in Europe!

Nedjmi Ali

Member of the European Parliament,
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

Actual news


Discharge 2016: EU General budget – European Parliament

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Dear Mme Chair, Mr. Vaughan, colleagues,

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur for the well structured and balanced report on the European Parliament’s activities in 2016. As such the report answers the questions of improvements done in terms of quality, efficiency and effectiveness in the management of public finances, as well as presents the achievements of the transparency and accountability of the political leadership to the EU citizens.

The Parliament’s final appropriations for 2016 totaled 1.839 billion Euros, or around 19 % of Heading V of the Multiannual Financial Framework, and 99.2 % of these appropriations were committed. From financial point of view this is an excellent result. Equally important, however is that the report gives the answer how this financial resource was spend and what kind of results have been accomplished.

Concerning the reliability of the 2016 accounts and the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying those accounts we should be satisfied with the opinion of ECA that the spending is not affected by a material level of error. Even the estimated level of error is smaller in comparison with the previous year.

Regarding the Internal auditor’s annual report there are several good proposals. However, we should specify that the proposal of appointment an Internal Control Coordinator in each DG would not lead to increase the bureaucracy or the workload of the personnel.

From Human resources management point of view, we are satisfied that the Inter-institutional agreement on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management has been carried out according to the schedule.

Finally, I would like to stress on the detailed information about the contracts awarded both by their type and by the types of procedure used, as well as the information about the budgets of the political groups.

Nedzhmi Ali on the 2016 Discharge: Agencies

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Dear Mme Chair, Mr. Staes, Mr. Tarand, dear colleagues,

First of all, let me to express appreciation for the job done preparing the reports on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the EU’s decentralised agencies for the financial year 2016. The horizontal report covering the areas of performance, financial management and control has its merits as well.

Concerning the latter I would like to share some observations, remarks and proposals for additions.

Firstly, the scope and structure of the report are suitable for the purpose of presenting the overall activities of EU’s agencies in 2016. It includes the most important aspects of their performance. While there are specific chapters covering the budget and financial management as well as cooperation among agencies and with other institutions, a specific emphasize on the inclusion of principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness in Agencies´ daily operations, annual planning and controls would give us a clearer picture of the activities in 2016.

Secondly, EU agencies with the efforts of their 10 364 employees and budget of almost 3.4 bill. Euros are highly visible in the Member States and have significant influence on policy and decision making and programme implementation in areas of vital importance to European citizens. To the areas presented in the report, I would propose additions as research and industrial development, economic and monetary affairs, and related to them employment and social progress.

While in 2016 there was an increase of both budget and number of employees in most of the agencies, we should stress on the new tasks arising from the challenges faced by the EU within the year under review.

Regarding the number of agencies, there is one general observation. If you look at the table in Annex 1 of the “ECA’s audit of EU agencies and other bodies for the financial year 2016” there are presented 41 structures of which 32 are decentralized agencies, 6 are executive agencies and 3 are other bodies. The numbers for the budget and personnel presented in the horizontal report cover all of these 41 structures, while our task is to propose discharge just to the decentralized agencies. I think that we need to unify the methodology with ECA.

Concerning the principle of annuality of the budget and financial management, there is a high level of carry-overs affecting the majority of the agencies. Sometimes due to the multiannual nature of the agencies’ operational programmes it is unavoidable. While in most of the cases these carry-overs are not as a consequence of bad planning or implementation, indeed they should be communicated to ECA in a suitable form.

One of the main observations is that the procurement remains an error prone area for many agencies. It is true, but at the same time is important to distinguish between really poor performance in this area and some irregularities due to the extraordinary situations, for example related to substantial external or internal threats to the order and security of the Union.

Finally, welcoming establishment of the Anti-Fraud Working Group of the Inter-Agency Legal Network, the report on the activities of the Working group should not only be presented to the Parliament but also a deadline for this should be established. Moreover, a significant value of this report would be a quantitative assessment of the outcomes of preventing fraud and corruption within the agencies.  

Nedzhmi Ali on the Annual Report on the Financial Activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) for 2016

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Thank you Mr. President, dear colleagues,

This report presents the perspective of the European Parliament on the financial activities of the EIB in support of the EU policy goals. It has a broad scope describingthe Bank´s activities in the areas of main policies, accountability, financial operations and communication.

The macroeconomic impact of the Bank´s activities is visible when assess that its cumulative investments in 2015 and 2016 will add – 2.3% to EU GDP growth and – 2.25 million jobs by 2020.

In order to speed up the economic recovery in the Union and to help certain economic sectors and geographical areas to catch up, the report welcomes the development of extended European Fund for strategic Investments (EFSI) and calls for further efforts to avoid the geographical imbalances. Results at the end of 2017 shows that the total investments related to EFSI approvals reached the level of 257 bill Euros. While the implementation of the Investment plan for the time being is intact, we expect better results from EFSI 2.0 with its 500 bill euros.

At the same time we are concerned that the five biggest economies in EU received 54% of the total loans granted in 2016. While the information in the form of investment per unit of GDP could be misleading, we insist for broader territorial distribution of funds, including as regards the EFSI.

The EIB´s impact in the implementation of key public policy areas can be monitoredthrough the results of investments in the key areas for which purpose EIB should continue to define its monitoring indicators. EIB need to further develop its risk culture in order to improve the effectiveness of its interventions with regard to the contribution to EU policies.

While the potential beneficiaries of financing are generally not sufficiently aware of the Bank´s products, there is a need of better information and policy of inclusiveness.

Nedzhmi ALI: Presentation of the Court of Auditors´ Annual report 2016

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The budget, as annual financial framework of revenues and spending, is of significant importance for implementation of the EU´s policies. In this regard the ECA´s general conclusion that the revenue and payments for 2016 were legal and regular with some exceptions for the payments is a good news.

The estimated level of errors in the payments made from the EU budget for the last three years shows a clear trend of steady decrease from 4.4 to 3.1%. The bulk of the errors are concentrated within the areas of Economic, social and territorial cohesion, as well as in Competiveness for growth and jobs.

In ECA´s report there is early warning on a number of issues that we should be careful about. The challenges are mainly related to the budgetary and financial management. Delayed implementation of the programs could create at the end of the current programming period a huge backlog of outstanding payments.

We need a budget that provides more flexibility to respond to unforeseen events as financial problems, disasters and refugee crises. Efforts toward budget focussed on results should continue in order to achieve maximum effectiveness of spending the EU´s financial resources. 

Annual report 2016 on the Protection of the EU´s financial interests – Fight against fraud

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Exchange of views with Commissioner G. Oettinger

 

Thank you Mme Chair. Dear Mr. Pargneaux, colleagues, Commissioner,

Commissioner Oettinger, thank you for the comprehensive presentation on the status of protection of the EU financial interests in 2016. It is undisputable that in order effectively to fight the fraud a sound financial management of EU programmes should be in place. Equally important are the functioning of the preventive and corrective mechanisms and the actions taken by the Commission and Member-states to protect the EU budget from illegal or irregular expenditure and irregularities related to the revenue side of the budget.

In this context I would like several issues to be further clarified:

Firstly, very important is ensuring cost-effectiveness of the management and control systems. From this point of view the report doesn´t present clearly whether significant tangible results exist. Could you elaborate on the implementation of Result oriented antifraud strategies?

Secondly, the VAT gap report published in 2016 revealed a VAT gap of almost 160 bill. Euros. What is your opinion about the trends in this area especially after the adoption of the Commission´s action plan “Towards a single EU VAT area – Time to decide”? May we speak about substantial improvement fighting fraud in the VAT area?

Finally, considering the statistics of detected irregularities and fraud for the period 2012 – 2016 we can´t find a specific pattern showing stable trend. Could you explain the lack of a visible correlation between implementation of the strategies and the results during the five year period?  Results in terms of number of irregularities and related amounts of euros. 

Nedzhmi ALI: The EU Budget 2018 is extremely important in order to ensure investments in strategic sectors and sustainable growth

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The Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament insists on sufficient financial resources due to the price volatility of agricultural products.

 

Dear Mme Chair, Mr. Zeller, colleagues,

I would like to congratulate the rapporteur for the opinion on such an important issue for the European Union as the budget for the next year. We appreciate the approach of Mr. Zeller towards the assessment to what extend the Budget focussed on results approach has been incorporated within the Budget 2018. It is of particular importance if we are committed both to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of using the financial resources and at the same time to simplify the process of implementation and control and hence to decrease the level of irregularities.

In addition we could stress on several issues related to preparation of Budget 2018 that are characteristic in order to achieve the main policies and priorities of the EU:

Firstly – There is a need of proper response to the new challenges related to the complex geopolitical environment, from migration management to the protection of the EU’s external borders and the security of its citizens. If the budget is not able to ensure the needed resources in this area, implementation of the respective programmes will be very difficult. This will reflect on the consecutive control.

Secondly – While in 2018 cohesion policy programmes should reach a cruising speed that needs adequate appropriations, the delay of implementation of these programmes is unacceptable. We don´t want to experience again postponement of both implementation and payments until the last moment and the related increase of irregularities.

Thirdly – Let´s recall the general objectives of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): the promotion of viable food production, the sustainable management of natural resources and the balanced development of rural areas across the EU. In this regard the level of commitment appropriations requested for Heading 2 (almost 60 billion euros) represents 1.7% increase compared to the level of the 2017 budget. Payment appropriations increase is 2.6%. While the increase is not so substantial, we expect it to be maintained in order to ensure appropriate results from this important policy.

Fourthly – In relation to the unstable agricultural markets and climate changes there is a need in Budget 2018 to be envisaged enough margin to mitigate the consequences to the population due to the price volatility of agricultural products.

In conclusion,I would like to underline again the importance of the next year´s budget to ensure strategic investment and sustainable growth in order to support economic cohesion and create jobs, in particular for young people. This very high priority should be implemented through adequate distribution of the financial resources within the majority of policy areas of the European Union.

Nedzhmi ALI – Evaluation of external aspects of customs performance and management as a tool to facilitate trade and fight illicit trade

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Thank you Madam Chair,

Dear Colleagues,

Congratulations to the rapporteur for the well-structured report and thanks for the detailed information from the Commissioner Dombrovskis.

The role that customs´services play in the global trading environment, coping with the damage done by illicit trade to the formal economy is undisputable. The illicit activities have a detrimental impact on economies in terms of growth, jobs, foreign investment and integrity of markets. At the same time they generate large sums for transnational organised crime.

In order to eliminate the negative influence, the quality and performance of customs´ controls on the transit of goods, particularly at ports and borders is of high priority. It is necessary to ensure that there are homogeneous control techniques among Member States for filtering at ports and borders by promoting modern, risk management-based control strategies.

Inclusion of anti-fraud clauses in Trade and investment agreements is necessary in order to protect the financial interests of the Union. We need closer customs cooperation, both within the Union and with third countries, as well as an effective sharing of statistical information related to EU import controls. Thus, in addition to preventing damage to the economy we will protect the health and safety of consumers, limiting the risks to society and markets.

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