MEPs conclude inquiry into governance of EU funds

On Friday, a delegation of 6 MEPs concluded a fact-finding mission to Italy, getting first-hand insight into the EU’s farm fund protection, recovery and resilience systems.

A delegation from the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament, led by the President Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, Germany), traveled to Rome from 25 to 27 May, to investigate alleged violations of labor standards and the involvement of the mafia in the payment of EU agricultural subsidies, as well as on the control systems put in place to protect the NextGenerationEU funds.

Governance of EU recovery funds

During their visit, MPs were given an overview of the governance systems and procedures put in place to prevent fraud, conflicts of interest and the infiltration of organized crime when implementing the recovery and recovery funds. EU resilience. They met with the services of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance responsible for implementing the national recovery and resilience programme, as well as the General Inspectorate for Financial Relations with the European Union, officials from the Audit and Anti-Corruption at the State Accounts Office as well as the Specialized Police Unit”Finance Guard”.

They learned about efforts to fight organized crime during meetings with the European Delegated Prosecutor in Rome, the National Anti-Mafia Directorate and the police forces (CarabinieriState Police and Department of Public Safety).

They also listened to the presentation of the risk analysis developed within the Next GenerationEU Public Safety Department and Europol Law Enforcement Forum, with a particular focus on organized crime aggression against national and community resources.

“The mechanisms for monitoring and controlling EU funds seem to be very structured and comprehensive. In the case of the national recovery and resilience programme, these rest on a solid foundation of cooperation and coordination between authorities with a wide range of skills and professionalism. There are interesting indications of deployment of good practices in the governance of the national recovery plan which have yet to be tested in the implementation of the course,” said Monika Hohlmeier.

“With regard to the fight against organized crime, the mission saw the excellent work of many Italian authorities coordinating their efforts and establishing a paradigm which is, so far and to a large extent, unique, and which the Italy is available to share with other member states and partners,” she added.

Irregularities in the implementation of EU agricultural funds

The delegation also examined allegations of disbursement of EU agricultural funds to economic operators or suspected farmers close to mafia-type criminal organisations. They met with members of the state initiative “Table on the corporalato» at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests and exchanged with the Italian agricultural disbursement agency on the actions carried out and those that remain to be developed.

“There is the realization that mafia infiltrations in the agrifood supply chain and in the management of labor supply and demand (through the practice of “corporalato” – illegal hiring) displace an illegal and underground economy. We have received clarifications on the phenomenon of illegal recruitment and illegal work fueled by illegal immigrants, irregularities in social security contributions and the exploitation of vulnerable people who represent an underpaid and unpaid labor supply. qualified,” Hohlmeier said.

“Action in the agricultural sector requires further analysis. We have not received the expected level of clarification and will request additional information, in particular on the role of the Italian agricultural paying agency,” she concluded.

Delegation members

Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, Germany) – Head of Delegation, Isabel Garcia Munoz (S&D, Spain), Matteo Adinolfi (ID, Italy), Tomáš Zdechovský (EPP, Czech Republic), Catherine Chinnici (S&D, Italy), Sabrina Pignedoli (NI, Italy).

Helen D. Jessen