At the public video sitting today at 2 p.m., the European Union Affairs Committee and the State Budget Control Select Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) will be given an overview of the 2020 annual report of the European Court of Auditors, which will be presented by Member of the European Court of Auditors Juhan Parts.
The European Court of Auditors monitors the implementation of the budget of the European Union and the lawfulness of the use of the funds.
Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Siim Kallas said that, last year, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly had a significant impact on the Union’s finances. “It is already known today that this impact will continue also in the coming years. Member States have agreed to create a COVID-19 recovery instrument, which will be financed by issuing the EU bonds,” Kallas said. He added that in the coming years, the expenses of the EU would nearly double. “Keeping in mind the increase of expenses and fight against the pandemic, it is of utmost importance to effectively control the use of EU funds and the achievement of intended results,” Kallas underlined.
According to the report of the European Court of Auditors, the revenues of the European Union for the previous year were legal and regular, and not affected by material error. The overall level of error for expenditure from the EU budget of 2020 was 2.7 %, which is the same as the year before.
The proportion of high-risk expenditure in the audit population has further increased and represented 59% of audited spending (last year it was 53%). The rules and eligibility criteria governing this type of expenditure are often complex, which makes errors more likely. The level of error of high-risk expenditure exceeds the materiality threshold and is estimated to be 4.0% (in 2019, it was 4.9 %). This concerns mainly reimbursement-based expenditure. As in the previous year, the auditors have therefore concluded that the level of error in this substantial type of spending is pervasive, and issued an adverse opinion on EU expenditure for 2020.
The European Court of Auditors points out in the report that Member States’ absorption of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds has been slower than planned. By the end of 2020, or the final year of the current seven-year budget, only 55% of the agreed EU funding for the 2014–2020 period had been paid out.
The European Court of Auditors also reviewed the obligations and revenue amounts generated by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal process. On 31 December 2020, the EU accounts showed an amount of 47.5 billion euro due from the United Kingdom based on mutual obligations set out in the withdrawal agreement.
Public sitting starts at 2 p.m. and it will be streamed online.
The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
Your feedback is important. Please share it with us!