While EU member states and their populations look forward to receiving their country’s slice of the €800 billion recovery fund, work continues to dole out money from the Cohesion Policy pot. This is the part of the EU budget which funds projects ranging from highways to universities – with the aim of “levelling up” European regions. The EU Commissioner for Cohesion Policy Elisa Ferreira speaks to FRANCE 24 as calls grow for action against member states, including Hungary, that are seen as degrading rule of law.
Commissioner Ferreira explains why and how a state might have its Cohesion Fund money blocked: “We are talking about taxpayers’ money so it is a big responsibility. So no fraud, no conflicts of interests.”
As a new European Public Prosecutor’s office opens up, there is already concern about its ability to function across the whole EU. This is because five of the member states have not signed up to take part. Commissioner Ferreira brushes off concern about widespread fraud in use of EU funds, saying: “The level of fraud is extremely low. We are substantially under 1 percent.”
Produced by Isabelle Romero, Perrine Desplats, Céline Schmitt and Mathilde Bénézet