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Thursday, 31 March 2011

Budgetary Control Committee approves Commission spending

The European Commission's 2009 budget spending was approved by Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee on the 28 of March , under the "budget discharge" procedure, after the Commission had given undertakings to press EU Member States to take more responsibility for, and improve their supervision of, their authorities' spending of EU funds. Parliament is to vote on the discharge at its May plenary session. The committee also recommended granting a discharge to the Economic and Social Committee.  The choice as to whether to postpone or grant the discharge was a difficult one, said Jorgo Chatzimarkakis (ALDE, DE), the MEP steering it through Parliament. "I still have a problem with the lack of transparency when it comes to spending by Member States under what we call 'shared management'.  It is hard to explain to our citizens that we can't say exactly what 80% of the EU's budget is spent on and how. But this is a problem that cannot be addressed by the Commission alone, even though they are responsible in the end", he said. The discharge recommendation was approved with 21 votes in favour, two against and no abstentions. In previous meetings, Budgetary Control Committee MEPs had stressed that they wanted to see better management and control systems put in place. They had also underlined the need for national politicians to take political responsibility for the way the EU money is spent in their countries, by signing "national management declarations". Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta (Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit), agreed to work on a policy template to this end and to recommend that Member States give it their political endorsement.

 Source: European Parliament