More transparency requested from Brussels over EU cash flowing to oligarchic groups

MEPs say the EU’s capacity to stop oligarchs from receiving EU funds is limited, due to highly fragmented reporting systems and lack of cooperation by the EU countries

MEPs have pointed their finger at the “unprecedented magnitude” of oligarchic groups that are using government tools or criminal practices to benefit from EU funds.

In a resolution adopted by 409 votes in favour, with 61 against and 42 abstentions, MEPs said members of national governments and holders of political positions were part of an oligarchy in some member states.

But the EU’s ability to stop such high-powered elites from receiving EU funds was limited. The reason? A highly fragmented system of regional, national and inter-regional reporting that cannot always reveal the final beneficiaries of EU agricultural and cohesion funds.

“We ask to increase transparency and to stop the flow of EU subsidies, our taxpayer’s money, into the hands of oligarchs. In the light of recovery and resilience facility and potential new instruments it is clear that the issue could not be more important. The most important thing is that the Commission must finally start using all tools it has to prevent the misuse of EU funds. For example it is clear that the rule of law conditionality mechanism must be applied without any delay, if other available tools are not sufficient,” said rapporteur Petri Sarvamaa (EPP).

MEPs want the Commission to create an EU-wide digital reporting and monitoring system that reveals the ultimate and aggregated beneficiaries of EU funds.

They also want an annual ceiling on budget payments to a natural person of €500,000 for first pillar payments and €1 million for econd pillar payments.

They also want tighter rules on what constitutes a “professional conflict of interest”.

The European Commission will now publish a legislative proposal to update the EU Financial Regulation.

In April 2022 Members of European Parliament will travel to Bulgaria, to follow up on the allegations about corruption and misuse of public funds affecting EU funds.

In May a fact-finding mission has been planned to Rome, Italy, to look into the use of CAP subsidies in relation to the respect of labour standards and the fight against fraud and financial and economic crimes impacting the EU budget.

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