GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson has stressed the importance of safeguarding European public spending, particularly in an era of austerity.
She was speaking this afternoon in a European Parliament debate on the Commission's 2013 report on the protection of the EU's financial interests and the fight against fraud.
Member states are obliged to report all irregularities in EU expenditure – whether fraudulent or not – to the Commission, which in turn draws up an annual report based on this information and its own investigations.
MEP Anderson said: “With irregularities involving €309 million of EU funds in 2013, there is little doubt about the need to fight against fraud and other irregularities. I am glad to see some recognition in the report of the need for administrative capacity in detecting fraudulent activity. To detect and prevent financial irregularities, member states and the EU need adequate resources to train people.”
Anderson expressed serious concerns about the potential establishment of a European Public Prosecutor's Office and the parameters of its remit.
She said: “The rationale for the development of EU criminal law is to combat transnational organised crime. The intention is to be welcomed, but not at the expense of subjugating and undermining existing judicial systems of individual member states to the interests of the EU.”