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26.1.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/17

(2001/C 26 E/019) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0191/00
by Raffaele Costa (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(31 January 2000)

Subject: European Union Subsidies

In cases where European Union subsidies have been obtained by means of fraudulent acts or declarations,
or have been spent in an improper way, the Commission demands their repayment.

Could it provide details of the total amount of Community funds in respect of which repayment has been
demanded to date, indicating the exact sums recovered in absolute terms and as a percentage of the overall
total, as well as the identity and nationality of the beneficiaries from whom those monies have been
recovered?

Answer given by Ms Schreyer on behalf of the Commission

(25 April 2000)

The Commission requires beneficiaries to reimburse subsidies or other payments which they have obtained
in a fraudulent manner or which they have not used in a way consistent with the decision awarding the
subsidy or with the terms of a contract. With regard to the recovery, a distinction should be made between
Community budget entitlements and the procedure for recovering indirect expenditure.

Community budget entitlements

How entitlements (other than own resources) are recovered is described in the ‘The revenue and
expenditure account and financial balance sheet’, the 1998 version of which is being sent direct to the
Honourable Member and Parliament’s Secretariat (figures for 1999 are not yet available).

However, since the main objective of the computerised management and reporting systems currently
available is to facilitate the recovery of individual entitlements, no figures as such or percentages broken
down by type of debtor can be provided. Future improvements in reporting as part of the Sincom2
accounting system should enable the Commission to streamline its statistics.

Recovery of indirect expenditure

In 1998 the clearance of CAP accounts for previous years produced € 654 820 948 (Item B1-3700) whilst
the amounts recovered and other repayments (not including public storage operations) provided € 15 967
394 (B1-389 and B1-399) for the agricultural budget of the year.

Over the programming periods 1988-1993 and 1994-1999 € 7 693 442 granted under the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was withdrawn on account of irregularities under Article 24 of
Council Regulation (EEC) No 4253/88 of 19 December 1988, laying down provisions for implementing
Regulation (EEC) No 2052/88 as regards coordination of the activities of the different Structural Funds
between themselves and with the operations of the European Investment Bank and the other existing
financial instruments (1).

When the accounts relating to ERDF programmes or Cohesion Fund projects are closed, amounts granted
may be withdrawn for various reasons connected with irregularities although the formal procedure for
withdrawing assistance is not necessarily initiated.

Given the information systems available to the Commission, the amount of research needed to give a
detailed answer to the Honourable Member’s questions would be disproportionate to the questions and
would go beyond the framework of an answer to a written question.

(1) OJ L 374, 31.12.1998.