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. 

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