14 July 2014
More must be done to fight fraud by the member states according to the European Commission’s annual report on the protection of financial interests (PIF report).
The report finds that detected fraud in EU spending accounts for less than 0.2% of all funds. Nevertheless, the Commission believes that greater efforts at national level both on combatting and detecting fraud should be deployed.
The annual PIF report therefore recommends, amongst other things, that member states review their controls to ensure they are risk-based and well-targeted.
On the positive side, the report notes that good progress is being made at national level to implement new rules and policies which will strengthen the fight against fraud in the years ahead.
At EU level, the past five years have seen major advances in shaping a stronger anti-fraud landscape. These initiatives can have a marked impact on fraud levels, once they are fully implemented.
According to the report, fraud affecting the EU budget, which was detected by national authorities, decreased slightly in 2013 compared to 2012. On the expenditure side, €248 million in EU funds were affected by fraud, equivalent to 0.19% of the expenditure budget.
This compares to €315 million the previous year - a drop of about 21%. On the revenue side, suspected or confirmed fraud amounted to €61 million, representing 0.29% of traditional own resources collected for 2013. This compares to €77.6 million the previous year, also marking a drop of 21%.
While the overall financial impact of fraud affecting EU funds decreased last year, the number of cases reported in EU spending increased compared to the previous year. This may be the result of stronger measures to detect fraud at an earlier stage, thereby reducing the overall amount of funds affected. It also may signal better reporting of fraud by some member states.
Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud, said: ‘In the last five years, the Commission has taken the fight against fraud to a new level. Our commitment to protect citizens’ money from fraudsters is clear from the tough and ambitious new rules, initiatives and frameworks we have put forward. Now it is time for Member States to play their part more effectively. They need to step up their game in preventing, detecting and prosecuting those who try to de-fraud the EU budget.’