Daniel Calleja, the director-general for enterprise, has entered three reservations to his statement of assurance. Two concern research programmes – FP6 and FP7. A third is about the inadequacies of the European Space Agency's financial reporting.
Both the European Court of Auditors and the Commission's own auditors have detected material errors in the financial reports prepared by ESA. Whereas the Commission department entered a reservation last year about the ESA's administrative spending, this year the health warning is being extended to all the money managed by the ESA.
Calleja says that the financial impact of the ESA's accounting difficulties is impossible to quantify. Nevertheless, he admits that it could be higher than the 2% threshold of material error. Given that spending in 2011 on the three relevant Commission programmes – the space component of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and two satellite navigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo) – together amounted to €810 million, he is effectively admitting that this “unquantifiable” impact could be greater than €16.2m.