The European Court of Auditors calls for more control of ‘Next Gen’ funds
The European Court of Auditors has requested this Wednesday that the European Commission establish a series of guidelines for the revocation or annulment of the measures related to the objectives fully met and established in the Recovery and Resilience plans in order to ensure that interpretations and application are consistent.
Besides, The auditors have criticized that the amount of the funds has not been determined until almost half of the validity of this mechanism. that will be frozen or reduced if a country does not fully meet a target or milestone. In this sense, Brussels published the details of this suspension of payments procedure on February 21, whose methodology provides for sanctions applicable to the amount that corresponds to each milestone and objective related to the entry into force of a reform or a “final step”. , although in no case will the penalty affect the entire section.
Nevertheless, this is not enough for auditorswho have criticized that the Commission has not laid down rules on what to do if a funded measure is rolled back, making it more likely that milestones and targets that have been rolled back will go “unnoticed”.
Furthermore, although the report notes that the Commission has created a control system in a “relatively short” period of time For the main EU recovery fund after the pandemic, endowed with 724,000 million euros, the Court of Auditors claims to have found “gaps in reliability and accountability” in the protection of the EU’s financial interests.
member states they are obliged to check that the investment projects financed by the facility comply with national and EU rules, but Brussels has little verified information of its own on these controls and does not know if they are being carried out and in what way. Thus, the auditors point out that without guarantees that these standards are met, there is a lack of accountability at EU level.
For their part, Commission sources have expressed their “total disagreement” with the Court’s conclusion that there is a “guarantee and accountability gap at the EU level” and recall that the fund regulation provides for a framework of control ensuring that EU funds cannot be wasted.
In this sense, the same sources emphasize that the guarantee and responsibility are “clearly established”Therefore, in their opinion, “there are no gaps”, and they recall that to date 19 audits have been carried out to confirm that the control systems of the Member States are “up to the task”, something they regret that it is not reflected in the report because it only examined the information available up to April of the previous year.