07 Sep, 2021

Renew Europe: More muscle needed to ensure scrutiny of Recovery and Resilience Plans

On 1 September, the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament highlighted the importance of rigorous scrutiny of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) and called for more cooperation and transparency between EU institutions during the third Recovery and Resilience Dialogue with European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

The RRF is the €672.5 billion programme through which most EU funds for economy recovery related to the COVID-19 pandemic are being channelled. Currently, 18 Recovery and Resilience Plans have been assessed by the European Commission and 7 are still currently being examined.

ALDE Party Vice-President Luis Garicano MEP (Ciudadanos, ES), Renew Europe’s Coordinator on the topic, said:

"We have a historical responsibility to ensure that European money does not end up in the pockets of crooks and corrupt politicians. The risk of fraud has never been bigger. The EU is spending more money than ever; and its audit and control systems are under-funded. It is a dangerous combination.

With its latest EU budget proposal, the European Commission is asking each of its antifraud office´s (OLAF) staff members to monitor €900 million worth of EU expenditure. In 2010, an OLAF official would have been responsible for scrutinising €300 million. This will only make it easier for criminals and increase fraud and corruption. The same has happened with the European Court of Auditors and the new European Public Prosecutors. Their resources are woefully inadequate for the task.

That is why Renew Europe has now presented amendments to the budget to ensure significant increases in the resources of all these institutions. Renew Europe will continue to do its best to ensure that European money is well spent."

Dragoş Pîslaru MEP (USR PLUS, RO), one of the European Parliament’s negotiators on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, said:

"Precisely one year ago, myself together with my other two co-rapporteur colleagues were presenting in the ECON-BUDG committees our draft report on the Recovery and Resilience Facility. We came forward with a very ambitious and visionary report, with a new structure of six pillars and a link between the RRF and respect of rule of law, with the necessity of frequent and quality reporting from the European Commission. Many elements are present in today’s Facility, and I am glad that the European Commission understood and supported the European Parliament’s ambition. I stress the importance of delivering a solid national recovery and resilience plan, with vision, ambition, suitable for the next generation."

You can watch the exchange of views with the European Commissioners, where Garicano and Pîslaru pose questions on behalf of Renew Europe here.

Photo credit: Daina Le Lardic, European Parliament 2021

Photo credit: Jan Van De Vel, European Parliament 2021

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