HC Deb 25 January 1999 vol 324 c17W
Mr. Whittingdale

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action was agreed under the last British presidency of the EU to combat fraud. [66124]

Ms Hewitt

[holding answer 18 January 1999]: The Government made the fight against fraud one of the priorities of the UK Presidency of the EU, ensuring that it was kept high on the agenda. Priority was given to work on the recommendations of the High-Level Group on Organised Crime. Progress was reported to the Cardiff European Council, including conclusion of the pre-accession pact on organised crime with applicant countries, establishment of a European judicial network to improve practical co-operation and improvements to the mechanism for collecting and analysing data on organised crime. Progress was made on legislation to improve the working of the transit system and preparation of the new computerised transit system, aimed at making the Community transit system less vulnerable to fraud. Work continued on the SEM2000 initiative with measures to improve financial management and fight fraud both in the Commission managed programmes and in the 82 per cent. of the EC budget which is administered by Member States. The 19 May ECOFIN Council was devoted to financial management and anti-fraud issues including considering the annual Fight against fraud report and the Commission's anti-fraud work programme for 1998–99. The Council conclusions emphasised the importance of this work.