8/10/2019 - Fraud and corruption jeopardise the potential impact of European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. Estimates from detected cases alone indicate that approximately EUR 390 million are misappropriated across EU Member States every year.
ESI Funds have an enormous potential for boosting economic growth and development in EU Member States. The EUR 450 billion allocated for the 2014-2020 period support initiatives that boost job creation, employment, education, competition, and agriculture, among many other areas.
For citizens, the misappropriation of ESI Funds therefore means missing new schools, suspended improvement of healthcare services, or unfinished roads and buildings as symbols of graft instead of progress.
In this context, the OECD and the Central Co-ordinating Body (CCB) of the Slovak Republic, under the leadership of Mr. Richard Raši, Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatisation, embarked on a project to modernise the government’s risk management strategy for ESI Funds. Building on over a year of collaboration, the strategy was launched in Bratislava on 8 October with the Deputy Prime Minister, the CCB, project partners and government officials.
In his remarks, Deputy Secretary-General Jeffrey Schlagenhauf noted, “Fraud and corruption do not just hinder productivity, but also fuel distrust and perpetuate inequality.” A poll released earlier this year shows that across EU Member States, only 34% of people trust their national governments and parliaments. This project offers a critical input for building trust between government and citizens.
Slovak Republic Deputy Prime Minister Richard Raši (left) and OECD Deputy Secretary-General Jeffrey Schlagenhauf (right).
Recognising the existing, robust normative and policy frameworks, Tackling Fraud and Corruption Risks in the Slovak Republic: A Strategy with Key Actions for the European Structural and Investment Funds focuses on overcoming implementation challenges. The Strategy lists proposals to bolster fraud and corruption prevention in the public sector, including through:
Together with the Strategy, a Guide on common schemes and preventive actions for minimising fraud and corruption risks in ESI Funds was launched. The Strategy and Guide on common schemes can be a resource for other EU Member States who are striving to improve their management of fraud and corruption risks in ESI Funds.
Enquiries may be directed to the Head of the Public Sector Integrity Division, Janos Bertok (firstname.lastname@example.org).
 Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (2019), Report: Billions in EU Funds Lost to Fraud, https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/9110-report-billions-in-eu-funds-lost-to-fraud
 Spring 2019 Eurobarometer, https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-4969_en.htm