A Group of Auditors of the Accounting Chamber monitors the implementation of cross-border cooperation programs of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument, which are financed by the EU funds.
This is stated in the report on the work in 2020 of the Group of Auditors on cross-border cooperation programs of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPP), in particular: “Black Sea Basin 2014−2020”, “Ukraine−Romania 2014−2020”, “Ukraine − Hungary − Slovakia − Romania 2014−2020”, “Ukraine − Poland − Belarus 2014−2020”. The Group of Auditors is headed by the Member of the Accounting Chamber Vasyl Nevidomyi.
Thus, all the tasks, set in 2020 by the Audit Bodies on the 4 programs: “Black Sea Basin 2014−2020”, “Ukraine-Romania 2014−2020”, “Ukraine − Hungary − Slovakia − Romania 2014−2020”, “Ukraine − Poland − Belarus 2014−2020”, were completed.
In particular, in 2020 the Group of Auditors conducted 2 system audits under the programs “Ukraine−Romania 2014−2020” and “Black Sea Basin 2014−2020”, and also submitted proposals to the Audit Authority of the Hungarian program to the audit report prepared based on the results of the system audit according to the specified program. The auditors also checked the implementation of the previously provided recommendations by the National Governing Body (Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine) and the National Checkpoint (Ministry of Finance of Ukraine).
The Group of Auditors found that the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers in 2020 approved the procedure for the return of improperly spent funds and unused part of the European Union grant provided for the implementation of projects under the ENI CBC. In addition, the National Checkpoint participated in the development of guidelines and instructions for confirming program income and expenditure. As a result, clear rules have been set for confirming income and expenditure for programs based on unified checklists.
At the same time, the auditors found that national program management and control bodies do not have access to integrated electronic databases for three of the four programs implemented in Ukraine – Hungarian, Romanian and Polish. This complicates the monitoring of programs / projects and the proper management of funds at the national level.
There is also an undeveloped procedure at the national level to correct identified violations under the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument Cross-border Cooperation programs and reduce the risk of their recurrence.
In addition, at the request of the Audit Authority under the Polish program, representatives of the Accounting Chamber in 2020 audited the project “Improvement of the environmental situation in the Shatsk National Nature Park by sewerage of settlements around Lake Svityaz”. It is planned to allocate about 6.5 million euros for its implementation, including 5.8 million euros of EU funds. The auditors checked the costs of the Shatsk Regional State Administration for the project in the amount of 2.4 million euros and confirmed their eligibility.
The Group of Auditors also checked four updated Audit Strategies and Audit Guidelines and provided suggestions on them to the relevant Audit Authorities.
In 2020, the representatives of the Group of Auditors also took part in 2 online meetings on the implementation of the Programs. In particular, they discussed issues of access and maintenance of databases in integrated systems; selection of independent auditors to verify project expenditures; carrying out administrative inspections and system audits, etc.
It should be mention that by 15 February each year, the European Commission submits annual reports on the Cross-border Cooperation programs of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument, as well as audit opinions and audit reports on annual statements on such programs for the previous financial year. Such audit reports and conclusions have already been prepared by the Group of Auditors.
On December 19, 2016 in Brussels (Kingdom of Belgium) the Government of Ukraine and the European Commission signed 4 Agreements on financing joint operational programs for Cross-border Cooperation for 2014–2020 under the European Neighborhood Instrument, namely: “Black Sea Basin 2014−2020”, “Ukraine−Romania 2014−2020”, “Ukraine − Hungary − Slovakia − Romania 2014−2020”, “Ukraine − Poland − Belarus 2014−2020”.
The main strategic goals of the Programs implemented in Ukraine are: promoting economic and social development in border regions, solving common problems in the fields of environmental protection, public health, security, as well as promoting better conditions and approaches to the movement of citizens, goods and capital.
The ENI CBC Programs for 2014–2020 are funded by the European Commission on a non-repayable basis. According to the Agreements on financing the Programs signed by the Government of Ukraine, the total budget of the Programs implemented in Ukraine is about 403 million euros, of which 366 million euros are funds of the European Union.