Today, the European Parliament approved the outcome of the trilogue negotiations on the simplification of the management of the EU budget.
“Today is a good day for anyone who is involved in the management of EU funds, be it beneficiaries, implementation partners or officials at EU, national and regional level. With this revision of the Financial Regulation, we have slimmed down the rules and chosen flexible solutions wherever possible and appropriate”, stated Ingeborg Gräßle MEP, co-author of the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union.
The so-called Omnibus Regulation on EU financial rules sets out the principles and procedures for the establishment and spending of the EU budget and the control of EU funds.
“At the outset, all parties were aiming for simplification, particularly for end users, but drawing up financial regulations is inevitably a balancing act. Overall, I wanted to achieve more by way of simplification, but we made good progress towards establishing a performance budgeting culture”, stated Richard Ashworth MEP, co-author on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union.
"It is also a good day for the European taxpayer, because we are giving the anti-fraud provisions sharper teeth: new rules on conflicts of interest mean that it will be a lot harder for government officials to give EU grants and contracts to themselves, as we have observed in the past. We have also created a completely new provision which will exclude letterbox companies and those with their seat in a tax haven from receiving EU money”, explained Gräßle.
The key achievements of this revision of the Financial Regulation include:
- a wider use of lump sums, flat rates and payments based on results, which means that in these cases, there will be no need to provide detailed invoices;
- the possibility to replace part of the co-financing by volunteer work and contributions in kind;
- a reduction of the number of required reports and documentation, as well as cross-reliance on audits;
- a further simplified set of rules for smaller projects up to €60,000.
“First, we have to be mindful that this is public money and it is important that we do not compromise monitoring and control. Second, performance budgeting brings a new dimension to the financial regulation. It will usher a completely new culture in EU spending - we welcome that - but, at the same time, we need to recognise that there is a potential conflict between measuring performance and achieving simplification”, concluded Ashworth.
The new rules will enter into force shortly, as soon as the Council has formalised its approval.