Brussels, 16th February 2009
Minister of Finance Miroslav Kalousek presented the Council recommendations concerning the 2007 discharge to the MEPs.
Based on the Council recommendations, the European Parliament grants discharge to the Commission, which is responsible for the implementation of the EU budget. The aim of the discharge procedure is to assess whether the implementation of the EU budget in the given year was done properly and in accordance with the principles of sound financial management.
In his speech, the Finance Minister expressed his regret that the Court of Auditors was repeatedly unable to express a clean audit opinion concerning the expenditure of a large part of the budget, despite measures aimed at improving monitoring procedures. These measures were recently adopted by the European Commission. Miroslav Kalousek, however, also highlighted the fact that for the first time, the annual accounts of the European Communities for 2007 were declared sound.
The Finance Minister expressed the Council’s concern regarding the number of errors in the area of Cohesion Policy. He noted, however, that the Cohesion Policy programmes are multiannual, so many errors might still be corrected.
The Council believes that a large number of errors are due to the excessive complexity of rules. Therefore it is the priority to fundamentally simplify legislation, which would lead to reducing the number of errors as well as the administrative burden of controls. In this context, the Minister noted that the Council had called for the Commission to continue the efforts, in close cooperation with the Member States, and look for other possibilities of legislative simplification.
In the following debate with the MEPs, the Minister underlined that both institutions share a common goal – to obtain a positive statement of assurance in all areas of the budget, which will act as proof of the sound management of EU funds.
Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Finance
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