Vítor da Silva Caldeira (centre), president of the European Court of Auditors press conference
Europe: The president of the EU’s budget watchdog wants his agency to audit the European Commission’s €315bn infrastructure investment programme.
The EU’s budget watchdog has expressed concerns about the so-called “Juncker Plan” to jumpstart the European economy. The European Court of Auditors in Kirchberg wants to review the activities financed by the €315bn programme, which will be funded from both public and private sources.
“We need to ensure that risks to the management of the funds are controlled,” Vítor da Silva Caldeira, the ECA’s president, said during a press conference on the release of its annual report. “We need to clarify the governance and accountability between the European Investment Bank and the European Commission.”
However much work remains to be done. Earlier this week, for example, the EIB and several national investment banks said the commission needed to clarify that organisations participating in the Juncker plan would not run afoul of Europe’s state aid rules.
In its review of last year’s spending by EU agencies and EU-backed outfits, the European Court of Auditors found a payment error rate of 4.7% of the total EU budget. That is down slightly from 4.8% in 2013. An “error” does not necessarily indicate fraud or misappropriation; rather it reflects payments that were made without fully complying with EU rules. Often the cause is human error.
The ECA released its “2014 activity report” [PDF] on Thursday, saying it gave a “clean opinion on the reliability of the 2013 accounts”.