Thu. Oct 6th, 2022

See question(s) : E-002217/2022

Answer given by Mr Schmit on behalf of the European Commission

(17.8.2022)

Arachne is readily available to Member States free of charge as a preventive tool to enhance management and control systems and improve their ability to prevent, detect and correct fraud and irregularities. The tool has been simplified and optimized over the years based on suggestions and requirements from Member States and it is now a user-friendly tool1.

The Commission is exploring ways to enhance the tool’s capacity with latest technologies and to further simplify it, for example by re-focusing it on a reduced number of indicators.

Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Greece and Cyprus did not use Arachne for the 2014-2020 programming period in the Cohesion policy2. The reasons vary: Germany, Sweden and Finland referred to their national data protection rules, other countries referred to administrative burden3.

The European Commission is working actively to enlarge the use of Arachne towards these Member States and several presentations of the tool with demo session have been carried out for Sweden, Denmark, Cyprus and Poland. Additional workshops and trainings sessions are foreseen in the next months including one for Germany in summer 2022. Greece will finalize the pilot exercise by the end of the year 2022 and Sweden has started recently to implement the tool with technical and administrative support of the Commission services.

With its proposal for a revised Financial Regulation adopted on 16 May 20224, the Commission proposed to make mandatory the use of an integrated tool for data-mining and risk-scoring in all methods of EU budget implementation. The Commission will be responsible for developing and adapting the system. This is in line with calls by the European
Parliament in some of its decisions and resolutions5.

1 In 2022, the tool will allow for the calculation of new risk indicators linked to the beneficial owner data and checks of links between the beneficial owner and the involved companies or people. The tool can be used with regard to the Recovery and Resilience Facility Fund and adaptations are ongoing for the use with Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) expenditure.

2 The use of Arachne for the CAP is in a pilot phase but already seven Paying Agencies use the tool, two are in testing mode and ten have initiated preliminary discussions with a view to its use.

3 The Honourable Member is kindly referred to an information note shared with the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament on 11 February 2022 (Ares(2022)1006041).

4 https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/financial-regulation_en

5 For instance in the context of the 2019 and 2020 discharge, and in the European Parliament resolution of 24 November 2021 on the revision of the Financial Regulation in view of the entry into force of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (2021/2162(INI)), as well as in the European Parliament resolution of 23 November 2021 with recommendations to the Commission on digitalisation of the European reporting, monitoring and audit (2021/2054(INL)).

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