HC Deb 14 December 1994 vol 251 c710W
Mrs. Lait

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to help combat fraud in the European Union, particularly in the spending of the common agricultural policy and structural and cohesion budgets.

Mr. David Davis

Steps are being taken in all areas of Community budget to eradicate fraud and irregularity.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister secured important commitments in this respect at the Essen European Council on 9 and 10 December. The Council called on the Community's institutions and member states to make full use of the new powers given to them in the Maastricht treaty, and urged them to ensure special reports submitted by the European Court of Auditors are pursued thoroughly.

The Council will actively pursue agreement in the first half of 1995 to a proposal for intergovernmental co-operation against criminal aspects of fraud and will seek rapid progress toward concluding a regulation on the protection of the Community's financial interests. Each member state also undertook to report back on measures they take at a national level to counter fraud, waste and mismanagement. These reports will be submitted to the European Council in December 1995.

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