With the accounts set to receive a clean bill of health for the ninth year in a row, the package provides a comprehensive overview of how the EU budget is supporting the Union's political priorities, while being spent in line with EU rules. The documents put a special emphasis on performance, thus making a big step forward in transparency and accountability and achieving one of the concrete outcomes of this Commission's ‘Budget Focused on Results' initiative.
Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources, said: "EU money belongs to our citizens and we owe it to them to turn every euro into quality investment for their prosperity and security. What we are presenting today puts all of the pieces of the EU budget puzzle together: where the money goes, how people benefit from it and what we do to protect it from being misused or lost."
The reports demonstrate that the EU budget is delivering results in line with the Commission's priorities and is implemented properly. They also provide an important input to the annual discharge procedure for the 2015 budget. Based on the Commission's reporting and the Court of Auditors' report, the European Parliament will decide whether to give the Commission the final approval ('discharge') of the way it has implemented the EU budget in 2015. The Commission has received this approval every year since 1997.
The reports published today include:
- details on the results achieved by the EU budget and on how it is managedin the Annual Management and Performance Report;
- how the EU budget is financed and what Member States receive from the budget in the Financial Report;
- actions taken by the Commission and Member States to ensure the proper use of taxpayers' money in the Communication on the protection of the EU budget;
- the EU Annual Accounts containing financial information on the activities of the institutions, agencies and other bodies of the EU.
In today's reports, the Commission has estimated, for the first time, the residual level of error in spending after all recoveries and corrections at the closure of programmes ('amount at risk at closure'). This estimate is below 2%, which is the benchmark for assessing whether the risk to the EU budget is managed effectively.
Every year since 2007, the European Court of Auditors has found that the EU accounts are fully reliable. Around 80% of the EU budget is managed by EU Member States, not by the Commission in Brussels. The Commission makes every effort to prevent, detect and correct errors. It works closely with Member States to further improve the accuracy and effectiveness of spending. In this context, the Commission has also presented its annual Report on the Protection of the EU's financial interests.
The reports show that spending programmes are delivering concrete benefits, for example:
- EU funding to address the unprecedented refugee flows and manage the EU’s external borders has more than doubled in 2015 and 2016, reaching over €10 billion in total; funding for Triton and Poseidon interventions have been tripled. Over 350 000 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean;
- more than €106 billion of expected investment triggered by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in its first year, maximising the EU budget’s contribution to boosting jobs, growth and investment;
- More than 825 000 jobs were created throughout Europe by 2014 thanks to European Regional Development Fund investment support for SMEs;
- 165 000 young farmers received financial support for their start-up from the Common Agricultural Policy for 2007-2013;
- EUR 885 million was provided to countries affected by Ebola to strengthen their health systems and resilience of livelihoods, to support their economies and access to water in schools.