Tuesday, 16 September 2008

EU heading for 14th successive audit failure

Siim Kallas, the EU Commissioner for "Audit and Anti-Fraud", has pre-empted the forthcoming verdict of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and revealed that the Court will once again refuse to give their approval to the EU's accounts.

The ECA report into the 2007 figures, due 10 November, will make it 14 years in a row in which the EU has failed to have its spending cleared by auditors.

Earlier this year, a majority of MPs unjustifiably approved a government deal to increase Britain's payments to the EU by more than 60%. The deal included giving up £7 billion of Britain's EU rebate between 2007-2013.

As a result of that deal, on average Britain is now paying £6 billion more into the EU budget every year than we get back in grants and subsidies. This is an astonishing £115 million every single week.

European Voice reports that auditors will say they found only a slight improvement in the legality and regularity of EU spending between the financial years 2006 and 2007.

Speaking to MEPs, Kallas admitted that there were “real and unquestioned” weaknesses in 17 areas including research policy, the European refugee fund, structural funds, external actions and rural development.

How many years of EU audit failure will it take before MPs take action to halt this mis-spending of public money on a grand scale?

Until this happens, those MPs who approve of continuing to lavish more than a hundred million pounds a week on the EU despite annual audit failures and regular reports of EU waste and fraud must take full responsibility when public money runs out for essential public services or council tax rises in their constituencies.

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