Inadequate control of EU payments costs the Netherlands many millions

Inadequate control of EU payments costs the Netherlands many millions

Photo: ANP

The Netherlands pays tens of millions to the European Commission as a result of problems with customs accounting. It concerns payments to the EU. In the first instance, the Netherlands will pay just under 10 million euros definitively, and will make almost 88 million euros available, subject to change. The final amount can be high, due to the high interest that is charged on these types of payments.

Controls by customs on import duties, which the Netherlands largely has to pay to the EU, is “unsatisfactory”, according to the Commission, writes Minister Wopke Hoekstra (Finance) to the House of Representatives. The reliability of customs’ accounts is questioned not only by the European Commission, but also by the European Court of Auditors. “The cabinet is aware of the current shortcomings and is working on a solution,” writes Hoekstra.

This concerns “in particular” cases in which the customs authorities have corrected declarations after signals of fraud and imposed additional assessments on companies. In some cases, it is not possible to collect these payments on time. According to the Commission, the Netherlands has “not sufficiently protected the EU’s financial interests” by in some cases “not acting with sufficient speed”. The European Commission therefore believes that the Netherlands itself is responsible for paying the amounts.

The government admits that it did not go well in twelve files. The Netherlands therefore already pays 9.9 million euros, and later possibly another 19 million in default interest. This amount is so high because it concerns the period 2013-2014. Interest has therefore been calculated for many years. There is still disagreement about four files. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is already making 87.6 million euros available to prevent default interest from rising further. This already costs the Netherlands between 100 million and 150 million euros. But this amount “is only due if the principal is also due”.

This will only become clear later. Incidentally, Hoekstra does say that the cabinet is already working on improving customs accounting. The introduction of “automated payment administration” is an important step in this, according to the outgoing minister. The delayed ICT project is now in its final phase and will be completed next year.

Inadequate control of EU payments costs the Netherlands many millions
Source link Inadequate control of EU payments costs the Netherlands many millions

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