Commission Registers European Citizens' Initiative “Stop fraud and abuse of EU funds”
On 19 September 2019, the College of Commissioners gave green light for registering of a European Citizens’ Initiative, entitled “STOP FRAUD and abuse of EU FUNDS − by better control of decisions, implementation and penalties.”
The Initiative calls for the Commission to launch legislative proposals on enhanced PIF controls in Member States not participating in the enhanced cooperation scheme establishing the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. More precisely, the initiative requests, inter alia:
- Ex-ante control of funding and procurement decisions in risky areas in the said Member States should be carried out;
- In-depth control should cover complete exploration of all circumstances;
- Fraudulent activities and other offences harming the financial interests of the EU should be published.
The registration entered into force on 27 September 2018. From this date, the organisers have one year to collect signatures of support. Should the initiative receive one million statements of support within one year from at least seven different Member States. Then, the Commission is required to react within three months. It can decide either to follow the request or not, and is required to explain its reasoning in either case.
This European Citizens’ Initiative on the fight against fraud is one of the rare, if not the first, Initiative relating to PIF and European Criminal Law, respectively. The European Citizens’ Initiatives were introduced by the Lisbon Treaty as an element of participatory democracy. EU citizens may suggest concrete legal changes in any field in which the European Commission has power to propose legislation. The rules and procedures governing the citizens’ initiatives are set out in an EU Regulationof February 2011.