Optimized Internal Control of EU Funds in Line Ministries
What was it about
To assure that money from the EU budget is spent economically, effectively, and efficiently it is essential that countries have in place internal control system which provides reasonable assurance for achievement of the set objectives. With this in mind, the learning event provided an overview of the EU financial flows and its key features and gave a summary of issues to be addressed to ensure that the value for money from the EU budget is achieved. Specifically, the event reviewed the risks to the financial management of the EU budget and proposed ways to mitigate identified risks. It also considered ways of ensuring that spending and controlling of the EU funds are in compliance with sound financial management principles and provided guidance on common aspects of protecting the financial interest of the EU and national budget and reporting on irregularities.
In this regard this practical three-day course was designed to provide insights into:
- Overview of the key EU challenges that will be addressed in the forthcoming multi-annual financial framework, and the position of pre-accession funds in these negotiations
- Lessons learned from audit and control in the 2014-2020 programming period
- Clarification of the roles and responsibilities of key actors (e.g. European Anti-fraud Office, national managing authority, national fund, NAO support office, audit authority) in the management and implementation process of EU funds
- Practical aspects of internal and external control and audit of EU funds in the programming post-2020 period
- Methodologies for increasing efficiency of control and audits
- Possible approaches to preventing irregularities and combating fraud in EU funded projects and programs
What were the benefits
As collaboration is one of the key factors necessary for effective learning, this learning initiative offered a good balance between classroom lecturing and solving of practical case studies. Such case study-based learning approach gave participants an opportunity to complete assignments together in teams with colleagues from different countries, have them provide useful feedback to one another and further illustrate the important implications of discussed subject matters for participants’ own working practices.
By the end of the learning initiative, participants:
- Discussed pre-requisites for an efficient internal control system which can contribute to higher absorption of EU funds
- Learned about the internal control challenges regarding the management of the EU funds and discussed ways to overcome them
- Received insights into how to optimize internal control structures for the management of EU funded projects and programs
- Discussed practical examples of fraud and irregularities encountered in EU funded projects and programs
Who was it for
The workshop was designed for public officials involved in management and control of EU funds from the quality control, irregularities, risk management, internal and external audit, financial management and financial control functions in central finance and contracting units, national fund, NAO support office, bodies responsible for the operational programs, Anti-fraud coordination service (AFCOS) and managing authorities.
The learning initiative was delivered under the guidance of:
- Larisa Vukoja, Sector for EU, Ministry of Finance, Croatia
- Aleksandar Hinov
- Irena Kure, Budget Supervision Office, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia
Participants were expected to take an active part in the workshop activities. The success of the workshop was directly dependent on the participants’ active engagement in the discussions and group work.
Travel and accommodation costs were funded for up to three officials per IPA II beneficiary country. Officials from other CEF constituency countries (and beyond) had to obtain funding from their sending institution (or another donor) to cover these costs. No fee was charged for the officials working in the public sector. Coffee breaks and meals during the workshop were provided.
This learning initiative was supported by: