The European Parliament today approved the European Commission's implementation of the EU budget in 2014, granting the so-called "discharge" with an overwhelming support. Apart from approving the Commission's accounts and its handling of the EU budget, the vote also signals the European Parliament's strong support for the drive to further increase the effectiveness of EU budgetary spending, through the Commission's "EU Budget Focused on Results" initiative.
Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for budget and human resources, said: "I am grateful to the Members of the European Parliament for their vote of confidence, and to the rapporteurs for their substantive work. The message is clear: we must continue to improve the quality of spending from the EU budget together with all actors concerned and that means both emphasis on performance and on compliance with the rules. Speedy action on urgent issues like the refugee crisis and humanitarian aid must go hand in hand with controls. The EU budget is our citizens' money. We owe it to them to make sure it goes where it is most needed and that every single euro is used effectively and spent according to the rules."
The Commission is committed to getting even better results from the budget and making sure that EU money helps make political priorities a reality. One clear focus is to continue to enhance the ability to report on the impact of expenditure on the ground and to consider past performance, in order to ensure the proper design of new programmes. At the same time, the Commission continues to work, in close cooperation with Member States, to detect errors early, correct them, manage risk and recover money if necessary. Simplification of rules and procedures is a priority to reduce error.
The annual budget discharge is the European Parliament's final approval of how the European Commission has implemented the EU budget for the previous year, thereby formally closing the budget year in question. The European Parliament grants the discharge on a recommendation from the European Council. Before taking its decision, the Parliament examines the accounts and the balance sheet as prepared by the Commission as well as the European Court of Auditors' annual report and any relevant special reports. This year's rapporteur for the Commission's budget, Martina Dlabajová, has put particular focus on performance of spending.
More information about the discharge procedure is available online.