Fight fraud by abolishing export subsidies

15 June 2006

Fight fraud by abolishing export subsidies

“The abolition of the sources of finance most vulnerable to fraud, such as export subsidies in agriculture, is a much-needed measure for the prevention of large-scale fraud, by which Europe is still afflicted. In addition, member states which do not cooperate in the struggle against fraud should be deprived of their subsidies.” SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard, a member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, drew these noteworthy conclusions during the debate on financial chicanery in Europe.

“It is recognised that a relatively large number of cases of fraud concern export subsidies,” Ms Liotard said. “In addition to all other moral objections to export subsidies which I have, this seems to me a very good reason to put an end to this ridiculous and damaging form of support.”

Countries which do not cooperate in the prevention of or struggle against fraud should be subjected to a tit-for-tat policy. “This would have immediate consequences in terms of the amount in subsidies which they receive,” Liotard said. She called for these measures this evening in Strasbourg where the European Parliament turned its attention for the umpteenth time to fraud and mismanagement. “In 2004 as many as 10.000 irregularities in relation to European moneys were reported, yet that is just the tip of the iceberg. We can only guess how often frauds on EU funds are in reality committed. This financial waste is one of the most important reasons for the entirely just criticisms of the EU raised by ever more citizens. In addition to export subsidies, the structural funds, for example the European Social Fund, appear to be easy targets for people in authority who want to line their own pockets.”

The European anti-fraud organisation OLAF also came in for strong criticism from Kartika Liotard. “This supposed watchdog turns out up to now to be more of a lapdog,” she said. "Typical is the fact that the parliament still has no clear picture of the extent and consequences of the Eurostat fraud of 2004. This is completely at odds with the efficiency and transparency that the European Commission in its communication on the subject claimed it would pursue.”

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