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EU auditors show increase in spending errors

5 November 2013

EU auditors show increase in spending errors

The annual Court of Auditors report has confirmed what everyone expected: the EU’s spending has not been given a clean bill of health for the 19th year, and the error rate has increased.

The annual Court of Auditors report has confirmed what everyone expected: the EU’s spending has not been given a clean bill of health for the 19th year, and the error rate has increased. The report has led European Conservatives and Reformists Budgetary Control Spokesman Ryszard Czarnecki to demand a dedicated Budgetary Control Commissioner charged with ending the annual debacle.

The Court of Auditors has found that the error rate for spending from the budget as a whole has risen from 3.9 percent to 4.8 percent (although 0.3 percent of the rise is attributed to a change in sampling methods). It means the error rate has increased every year since 2009.

Once again, rural spending comes in for most criticism, with 7.9 percent of the €15 billion rural development expenditure made in error. 6.8 percent of the €40.7 billion spent on regional policy, energy and transport was also spent in error.

On the positive side, the €10 billion spent on administration of the EU institutions was, once again, spent with no error and audit control systems were believed to be effective; whilst the financial corrections increased from €1.1 billion in 2011 to €3.7 billion in 2012.

Mr Czarnecki said that the report once again shames the EU as a whole – both the commission and the EU Member States.

He said:

“Errors in payments do not necessarily mean fraud in payments, and the commission can make financial corrections. However, clearly control systems are still lacklustre in far too many areas.

“We must end this annual debacle. It undermines confidence in the EU as a whole. The buck stops with the commission for these shortcomings, but we all have a responsibility to improve this situation: from the commission to national and regional governments.

“The European Commission should task a European Commissioner with the sole aim of ending this annual embarrassment. With 27 European Commissioners, it should not be hard for one to focus exclusively on the most important challenge facing the EU: spending our money correctly and adding value to our competitiveness. The current European Commission has failed to deliver any significant improvements in financial management so we look to the next commission to grab the bull by the horns and move from inertia to action.

“How many more years must this situation continue before we get a grip and begin to restore people’s faith?”

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