Written Question: Risks and challenges relating to financial contributions from third countries to the European Union and to some Member States

(Source: European Parliament)

Date Submitted: 15 May 2021

Question for written answer E-002634/2021

to the Commission

Rule 138

Maria Grapini (S&D)

Subject: Risks and challenges relating to financial contributions from third countries to the European Union and to some Member States

Certain third countries pay financial contributions to the EU and its Member States. European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries also pay direct financial contributions to certain EU Member States, under ‘packages of agreements’ negotiated at the time of they were granted access to the EU’s internal market.

Around 1% of EU revenue comes from contributions paid by 18 third countries. Between 2014 and 2019, those contributions amounted to around EUR 7 billion. In exchange for these financial contributions, third countries are granted access to EU programmes and activities, such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.

One challenge faced is to promote transparency and accountability for the benefit of the public concerned and the budgetary authorities through regular and detailed reporting that sets out contributions paid by each third country to each EU programme or activity. This is especially true for the four EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) that pay contributions directly to EU Member States.

How does the Commission ensure transparency as regards the contributions paid directly by third countries to EU Member States, given there is no direct monitoring of them by the EU institutions, and when these contributions could be viewed as payment by the EFTA countries for participating in the internal market?

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