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European Commission


Brussels, 18 February 2014

Commissioner Šemeta welcomes Council's recommendation to grant discharge on 2012 budget

The EU Council of Economic and Finance Ministers in Brussels today voted in favour of granting discharge to the Commission on the 2012 budget, in a recommendation to the European Parliament. The Council recommendation is an essential part of the budgetary discharge procedure, which is completed with a vote in the European Parliament plenary each Spring. The Commission will follow up carefully on the concrete recommendations on areas where further improvements could be made.

Commissioner Šemeta welcomed today's decision, saying: "Our citizens want to know that their money is being properly managed and well spent. That is one of the Commission's top priorities. For this new budgetary period, we have tightened the rules and strengthened the tools to ensure that the EU budget delivers quality and value to our taxpayers. I call on Member States to work with the same commitment, and assume their responsibility in protecting and defending EU funds."

The Commissioner pointed out that important simplifications, tougher correction mechanisms and incentives for good performance in the new programming period (2014-2020) will help to further decrease errors in EU spending in the years ahead.

However, he once again underlined the need for Member States to step up to the mark when it comes to the proper management of EU funds. Member States are first in line of responsibility for over 80% of EU spending, and yet the Court of Auditors continues to criticize the poor level of oversight at national level. Commissioner Šemeta urged governments to sign voluntary national declarations which would be a clear sign of their political commitment to pro-actively improving the management of EU funds and tackling weaknesses in their systems at national level.

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