At the end of June every year the Financial Transparency System (FTS) is updated to incorporate the previous year’s figures. This year, however, many figures still appear to be missing for 2019, including for the European Policy Centre (EPC) think-tank. There are still three projects for the European Policy Centre for which the financial breakdown cannot be found. These represent a substantial sum of EUR 4 500 000.
On 30 July 2020, Dutch Member of the European Parliament Derk Jan Eppink of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.
MEP Eppink asked the Commission “can it provide the exact financial breakdown for these three projects?” and “can the Commission provide any further explanation regarding each of these projects?” He also enquired “has the European Policy Centre benefited from other grants that are not indicated in the FTS?”
On 02 December, Budget and Administration Commissioner Johannes Hahn responded on behalf of the European Commission. He answered “the Honourable Member will find in Annexes 1-4 an extract from the Financial Transparency System (FTS) indicating the three commitments (or projects) for the European Policy Centre think-tank for which the financial breakdown is not available on the FTS”. He also added that “the Honourable Member will find in Annex 5 the pieces of information requested under points 1 and 2 of his question: with details about first the estimated financial breakdown and then further explanation regarding each of these projects (presented in one Excel tab per project) as described by the responsible department of the Commission”.
About point 3 of the question, the Commissioner stated that “the European Policy Centre has not benefited from other grants directly managed by the Commission that are not indicated in the Financial Transparency System 2019 publication”.
Commissioner Hahn explained that “as the Commission set out in its reply to Written Question E-004448/2020, the FTS publishes only those EU budget beneficiaries directly administered by the Commission departments, its staff in the EU delegations, through executive agencies and of the European Development Fund from 2007 onwards” and “it does not provide information on very low value contracts below EUR 15 000”. He added that “sometimes, the repartition for each recipient is not available on the FTS, as this information is not available in the central accounting system (ABAC) and/or the exact breakdown is not clearly defined by the nature of the contract”.
Finally, Commissioner Hahn declared that “in such cases, 100% of the amount is displayed with the coordinator and no amount allocated to the other beneficiaries: this reflects the organisation of the consortium and the disbursements made by the Commission in direct management, where the coordinator gets 100% of the payments and then divides them in accordance with the tasks agreed within the consortium”.
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