EU emergency funds have more risk of being misused, as parliamentary scrutiny and normal budgetary control measures are being abolished to ease their distribution.
In Greece, for example there were already two reported cases of misuse of EU funds intended to recover from the Coronavirus. Before even being officially hired, the now head of the ministry’s Technical Unit at the Ministry of Migration, awarded 4,5 million Euro contract from EU funds to a private company. Moreover, money which was supposed to be allocated to scientists to fight the coronavirus was disbursed following illegal conditions and without much oversight through some private technical schools politically mostly affiliated with the government.
Over 3.4 million EUR have been mobilized so far by the EU to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. While these essential funds should reach people most in need, as quickly and with as little bureaucracy as possible, we should ensure that they won’t go in the hands of fraudsters or oligarchs.
Therefore, together with the anti-corruption intergroup in the European Parliament we issued a statement to require:
- Money to fight COVID-19 must only be used for that purpose;
- Member States must be totally transparent on their spendings;
- The Commission must establish criteria for selecting individual beneficiaries, prioritizing SMEs;
- EU must also provide funds to local authorities directly;
- Suspension of payment must happen when there is a suspicion of fraud or rule of law deficiency;
- More resources are needed for EU bodies involved in the fight against corruption;
- The European Public Prosecutor’s Office must be legally binding for all Member States;
- The Anti-Money-Laundering Directives must be fully and correctly transposed;
- Zero tolerance to conflict of interests to avoid money going to oligarchs.
Check out the full statement from the anti-corruption intergroup here and let us know if you are aware of abuses of COVID-19 emergency funds.ANTI