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IP/08/1444

Brussels, October 2d 2008

Who gets EU cash? New website gives details of beneficiaries

Today's launch of the "Financial Transparency system" website and search engine will allow, for the first time ever, free access to details of who receives EU funds managed directly by the Commission and its executive agencies. Based on accounting data, it provides a consolidated view of the previous financial year and contains approximately 28.000 entries on Commission-run programmes in policy areas like research, education and culture, energy and transport and certain aspects of aid to third countries. This new search engine will allow users to analyse and compare information on beneficiaries and policy areas more easily. It is one of the building blocks in the Commission's wider European Transparency Initiative (ETI).

Welcoming the launch of the new Financial Transparency System (FTS) website, Dalia Grybauskaitė, European Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget, said: "Very few public administrations in the world open their books in the way we are now doing. We will be providing complete, reliable, comparable and user-friendly access to the financial records on grants, contracts and other forms of EU support. I believe this will also contribute to the current debate on how best to use the EU budget".

Vice-President Siim Kallas said: "We have always claimed that EU programmes benefit individuals, companies, and civil society across and beyond the 27 Member States. But this new part of the European Transparency Initiative enables any EU citizen to check what and when they want, and this allows for a very effective form of accountability – at the Commission's level, but also for programme managers throughout the EU".

Financial Transparency System

The Financial Transparency System website (FTS), launched today in a test phase, focuses on the beneficiaries of budget lines managed directly by the Commission and the executive agencies set up to manage certain EU programmes and other forms of operational support. The data can be accessed through a web-based search engine providing various search criteria such as the country of the beneficiary, the Commission department which gave the grant or contract, the relevant budget line or the amount.

The information is extracted from the Commission's accounts for the previous year and provides the financial amounts committed in the budget for these activities. The first available year is 2007. In 2009, the beneficiaries of 2008 will be published and in 2010, the system will be enhanced to also include the procurement contracts from the Commission for its day-to-day administration.

Payments to Rural Development beneficiaries are going online as well

In a parallel development, all Member States should put in place by 30 September 2008 a website with information on payments from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) made between 1 January and 15 October 2007 (see IP/08/463) Each website shall for all beneficiaries provide details such as the name of the beneficiary, the municipality of residence and the total amount of public funding received (Community and national). The Commission has set up a web-portal which provides access to the national websites. By 30 April 2009, Member States must publish details of the recipients of all other agricultural payments.

Background

The European Transparency Initiative, (ETI) was launched by the Commission in 2005. One of its three main objectives was to increase the level of information made available to the public on beneficiaries of EU funds. It started with information on funds managed centrally by the Commission and it is now completed with information on funds managed jointly with Member States such as the Common Agricultural Policy or Regional Development. Thanks to ETI, Member States agreed to extend the obligation to publish the names of beneficiaries to all EU funded policies as of the financial year 2007.

All websites concerning the publication of EU funds – for the moment these relate to Regional aid, including the structural funds, agricultural payments for rural development and the Commission's centrally managed funds - can be accessed through the main Commission portal.

For more information:

Go to Financial transparency website and search engine: http://ec.europa.eu/grants/search/index_en.htm

Go to main Commission portal for grants: http://ec.europa.eu/grants/search/beneficiaries_en.htm

Go to Rural Development beneficiaries' web portal: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/funding/index_en.htm

Go to the European Transparency Initiative website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/kallas/transparency_en.htm


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