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Europe D66 European Parliament

Parliament calls for an end to gentleman's agreement

   Mon 02/04/2001

Making the most of taxpayer's money: In a radical departure from the traditional rubber-stamping exercise that used to mark the discharge of the EU's smaller institutions, Lousewies van der Laan asks if they provide value for money.

Lousewies VAN DER LAAN, Dutch Liberal (D66) MEP and European Parliament Rapporteur for the 1999 Discharge to the other Institutions (all EU Courts, Committees and agencies with the exception of the Commission and Parliament) has taken a radical departure from the traditional rubber-stamping exercise to these smaller bodies which mainly concerns administrative expenditure.

VAN DER LAAN's approach is to insist that all institutions and bodies operating with money from the EU budget must account for the use they make of it in accordance with the principle of sound financial management. In this regard her main proposals are:

· Questioning, for the first time, the traditional policy of Parliament and Council agreeing not to look at each others' accounts. "This Gentleman's Agreement is indefensible, especially now that the Council has an operational budget for defence and security policy and 3rd pillar activities in the area of Justice and Home Affairs, " say van der Laan.

· Insisting that the Court of Auditors improve their annual report by "naming and shaming" the Members States that are most at fault in the implementation of Community expenditure as well as those sectors more prone to financial irregularity.

· Requesting the Committee of Regions and the Economic and Social Committee to produce annual assessments of the impact and timeliness of their contribution to the EU legislative process.

· Discharge is denied for the second time running to the Economic and Social Committee because Parliament is still waiting for an OLAF report on members´ fraud with airline tickets.