Friday, October 03, 2008

BPN 1239 Who gets EU cash?

Yesterday the EU launched the "Financial Transparency system" website and search engine. This database allows free access to details of who receives EU funds managed directly by the Commission and its executive agencies. It provides a consolidated view of the previous financial year and contains approximately 28.000 entries on Commission-run programmes in policy areas like research, education and culture, energy and transport and certain aspects of aid to third countries. The present website is a start of a larger project and now only contains data on project grants in 2007.

I had a look at the database and searched for some companies I knew where involved in European projects. And I found them easily with the amount of money they received. Although a project key is provided, there is no project name or acronym given; so you will have to copy the key and look further in the Europa database for the project name or acronym. On the other hand one sees the amounts of money, even to two decimals behind the comma. Whenever you search on a country like The Netherlands, you see 1565 entries, while the amounts descend from 22 million euro for a project of a foreign students exchange to two eurocents. There is also mention of natural persons, but they are not named due to privacy rules.

The Financial Transparency System website (FTS), launched in a test phase, focuses on the beneficiaries of budget lines managed directly by the Commission and the executive agencies set up to manage certain EU programmes and other forms of operational support. The data can be accessed through a web-based search engine providing various search criteria such as the country of the beneficiary, the Commission department which gave the grant or contract, the relevant budget line or the amount.

The information is extracted from the Commission's accounts for the previous year and provides the financial amounts committed in the budget for these activities. The first available year is 2007. In 2009, the beneficiaries of 2008 will be published and in 2010, the system will be enhanced to also include the procurement contracts from the Commission for its day-to-day administration.

The European Transparency Initiative, (ETI) was launched by the Commission in 2005. One of its three main objectives was to increase the level of information made available to the public on beneficiaries of EU funds. It started with information on funds managed centrally by the Commission and it is now completed with information on funds managed jointly with Member States such as the Common Agricultural Policy or Regional Development. Thanks to ETI, Member States agreed to extend the obligation to publish the names of beneficiaries to all EU funded policies as of the financial year 2007.

All websites concerning the publication of EU funds - for the moment these relate to Regional aid, including the structural funds, agricultural payments for rural development and the Commission's centrally managed funds - can be accessed through the main Commission portal.

Blog Posting Number: 1239

Tags: ,

No comments: