“Blacklisting” is a measure aimed at preventing fraud. Through its EDES database, the EU tries to exclude untrustworthy counterparties, such as those involved in fraud, corruption or other irregularities, from receiving public funds. Our audit assessed whether blacklisting is being used effectively to protect the EU budget. We concluded that the current system is not effective as there is no coherent set of obligations for the different payment modes. Furthermore, for funds managed by Member States, the use of exclusion systems is not mandatory. Fragmented responsibilities and shortcomings in identifying excludable counterparties lead to few cases on the EDES-blacklist. We thus recommend to extend the use of EDES to funds managed by the Member States, where a patchwork of legal obligations on exclusion currently applies. We also recommend making better use of data and digital tools to identify untrustworthy counterparties.
ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.