Auditors critical of EU anti-corruption report

14 Apr 14
The European Commission’s first anti-corruption report lacked any concrete findings, according to auditors

The EU’s anti-corruption mechanism of 2011 requires the commission to produce a report on fraud and corruption every second year, starting in 2013.

A European Court of Auditors’ review of the commission’s first report welcomed it as a ‘promising start’ to useful discussions on enhanced transparency, accountability and good governance. 

But it went on to criticise the report as overly descriptive, saying it offered little analysis and relied too much on the results of polls that measured citizens’ and firms’ perceptions of corruption. Polling data was of ‘limited usefulness’, auditors said.

ECA member Alex Brenninkmeijer said: ‘At first glance, the outcome of the commission’s report seems alarming. But the findings of the report are primarily based on the perceptions of citizens and companies.

‘Reality may well be different. And it is unfortunate that the commission excluded EU institutions and bodies from its analysis.’

The report was also criticised for failing to make any connection with the findings of OLAF, the EU’s own anti-fraud office.

‘The report therefore lacks the information that the European Parliament, council and national parliaments of member states require in order to substantiate policy decisions on anti-fraud and anti-corruption measures,’ the ECA said.

The ECA is calling on the EU and member states to collect timely and accurate data on: the areas at risk of fraud and corruption; the reasons why corruption occurs; what measures can be taken to address the problem, and which have proved to be effective.

Basing anti-corruption measures on perceptions rather than actual occurrence carries the risk that they might be unnecessarily burdensome and fail to address the real causes of corruption, the auditors warned.

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