Third report from the Commission on the operation of the inspection arrangements for traditional own resources (1997-1999)
Subject headingsBudgets and Financing
This report, which is sent to the budgetary authority pursuant to Article 18(5) of RegulationNo 1150/00, gives an account of the operation of the inspection arrangements for traditionalown resources over the period 1997-99. This information, which covers three years, gives anoverall view of the Commission's multiannual inspections of both customs and accountingprocedures and identifies the main strategies it intends to develop to improve results.This report first describes the general objectives pursued by the Commission via inspectionsof traditional own resources, in particular to keep a level playing field for operators in theEuropean Union, improve recovery and inform the budgetary authority. It also presents thelegal and regulatory framework surrounding the various inspection arrangements, followed bya factual description of the inspection system operating at Community level between 1997and 1999.Over the period in question the Commission conducted 70 inspections (joint and autonomous)in all fifteen Member States. These inspections revealed 246 anomalies, 185 relating toaccounting practices and 61 to do with customs. As a result of these anomalies, theMember States have so far paid a total of€3 035 347 in principal amounts and€6 971 898 ininterest for late payment.Apart from the aspects linked to the accounts, the anomalies detected during these inspectionsare an essential source of information on the problems encountered by the Member States inapplying customs and accounting regulations. They can reveal any incompatibility betweennational provisions and the spirit of Community law and highlight the possible impact interms of own resources. Analysis of these anomalies can lead to the reform of existingprovisio ns and improve the clarit y o f Co mmunit y legislat ion.The report concludes that there is a need for inspection measures to cover the variousaspects - customs-related, financial and regulatory - of how the whole system for theinspection of traditional own resources works.Finally, the report turns to the overall development of the inspection and collection system; itsets out the broad lines of the strategy which the Commission intends to develop in themedium term, firstly as regards methods and secondly as part of a renewed partnershipbetween the Commission and the Member States.As regards inspection measures, the Commission wishes to improve the utilisation of allpractical instruments likely to make the conduct of inspections more efficient or permit bettermo nitoring.Alongside these methodological considerations, the Commission aims to make the MemberStates assume more responsibility. It is therefore continuing to examine the operationalconsequences of holding the Member States liable for some of the errors committed by theiradministrations. This approach forms part of the attempt to achieve a fairer distribution of thefinancial burden between the Member States in accordance with the principles of sound andefficient management set out in SEM 2000. However, the Commission is also considering anew approach to associated inspections based on the Joint Audit Initiative which requires adifferent form of cooperation between the Community authorities and the Member States andwhich also seeks to respond to the changes in inspection procedures that will be required withthe forthcoming enlargement of the European Union.
Number of pages27p.
COM (2001) 32 final