Archive for the ‘European Court of Auditors’ Category

Special Report No 7/2011 “Is agri-environment support well designed and managed?”, published on 19 September 2011

September 21, 2011 Comments off

Special Report No 7/2011 “Is agri-environment support well designed and managed?”, published on 19 September 2011 (PDF)
Source: European Court of Auditors

Agri-environment policy is a key EU policy which aims to respond to society’s increasing demand for environmental services. This report assesses whether this policy is well designed and managed. The Court found that the conditions for assessing whether or not the objectives of the policy have been achieved are not in place. The systems for providing guidance to farmers were generally well implemented. However, considerable problems were identified concerning the aid amounts. Most expenditure was made on basic horizontal schemes without applying selection procedures and without clear decisions about the desirable degree of targeting. Although the audit identified good practices, the weaknesses found by the Court have hampered optimal achievement of the main objectives of agri-environment policy, namely contributing to EU-level priority areas (biodiversity, water, climate change) and improving the environment and the countryside.

EU — ECA issues a follow-up to its Special Report No 1/2005 on the management of the European Anti-Fraud Office

May 4, 2011 Comments off

ECA issues a follow-up to its Special Report No 1/2005 on the management of the European Anti-Fraud Office
Source: European Court of Auditors

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is charged with fighting fraud and other illegal activities detrimental to the EU budget. OLAF is part of the European Commission, has investigative autonomy, employs about 500 staff, and its annual expenditure amounts to some 50 million euro. In 2005, the European Court of Auditors’ (ECA) Special Report No 1/2005 on the management of OLAF made 17 recommendations to refocus activities on the investigative function, improve efficiency and demonstrate effectiveness.

The European Court of Auditors’ follow-up audit of 2011 (Special Report no 2/2011) set out to establish the action taken to implement the recommendations of Special Report No 1/2005. It addressed the questions of whether the activities of OLAF have been refocused on its investigative function, whether OLAF improved the efficiency of its investigations, how OLAF demonstrates the effectiveness of its investigations, and whether the role of the Supervisory Committee has been clarified.

The audit concluded that from the recommendations of the 2005 report, three of the recommendations had not been accepted, two recommendations were implemented, while the remaining twelve recommendations were implemented to varying degrees. The Court reiterated that its previous recommendations remain to a large extent valid and efforts should continue to ensure their full implementation.

The Court made a series of new recommendations in its follow-up report to enhance the performance of OLAF. Among them was that OLAF should increase the number and speed of investigations by increasing the proportion of time spent on its core investigative function, and that the contribution the intelligence units make to investigative work should be enhanced. In order to improve planning and supervision so that investigations are implemented in a timely and efficient manner, the Commission should simplify and consolidate anti-fraud legislation, while OLAF should strengthen its cooperation and partnership with Eurojust.

+ Full Report (PDF)

EU — Special Report: The Commission’s management of the system of veterinary checks for meat imports following the 2004 hygiene legislation reforms

March 17, 2011 Comments off

Special Report: The Commission’s management of the system of veterinary checks for meat imports following the 2004 hygiene legislation reforms
Source: European Court of Auditors

Food safety has become a major political concern in the EU, as public health in countries with industrialised agriculture and highly developed agri-food sectors relies on its effective implementation. Ensuring the highest standards of food safety is thus clearly a political priority in the European Union. Veterinary checks on meat and meat product imports are an important component of the European Union’s (EU) Food Safety policy.

The European Court of Auditors audited the EU Commission’s supervision of the EU system of veterinary checks carried out at border inspection posts (BIPs) for meat imports. The system was put in place through a framework introduced by the so-called 2004 “hygiene package” regulations, which came into force in 2006. The authorities and BIPs of four Member States were visited (France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Romania). Also, Court auditors participated in the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) inspection visits carried out in three Member States (Lithuania, the United Kingdom, and Greece). The FVO’s planning and reporting procedures were the subject of close scrutiny, because of the particularly relevant role it plays in the Commission’s supervision and control of EU veterinary checks.

The audit concluded that the implementation of the 2004 “hygiene package” is behind schedule and still has to be completed in important regulatory aspects. Moreover, it was found that substantial reductions in the levels of import controls were established in some “Equivalence Agreements” established with third countries. The Court found that such reductions were not supported by reasonable evidence.

The information systems (TRAde Control and Expert System (TRACES) and RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Feed and Food)) on which veterinary checks on meat imports rely are widely and usefully employed across the EU. However, certain BIPs in three Member States still do not enter all the relevant data. This in particular affects the completeness and reliability of the data captured and the information systems as a whole.

On the basis of its observations, the Court makes recommendations which could help the Commission to increase the effectiveness of the system of veterinary checks for meat imports.

+ Full Report (PDF)


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