Van Bommel wants to know what happens to the billions paid to the EU

9 February 2006

Van Bommel wants to know what happens to the billions paid to the EU

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is demanding to know – and sooner rather than later – how Dutch taxpayers' money handed over to the EU is spent. He proposes the creation of a publicly-available list of individuals, organisations and companies in receipt of moneys from Brussels – something which already exists in other member states. His call comes on the day on which a damning report on the lack of transparency in relation to European finances is published by the 'Algemene Rekenkamer', the Netherlands' official General Accounts Office.

According to this report it is far from clear where the €5 billion which the Netherlands paid into EU coffers in 2004 ended up. But it is not only Brussels which comes under fire from the state's official accountants: what happened to the sum of around €2 billion which made its way in the opposite direction, being paid to the Netherlands by Brussels, is also unclear. As the General Accounts Office puts it, “there is hardly any information regarding the effectiveness of the policies pursued by the EU in the Netherlands”.

Commenting on the report, Harry Van Bommel said: “Financial control and responsibility in the EU must be improved in the short term, in both Brussels and all of the member states' capitals. From now on the final recipients of this European money must be published annually.”

In a number of EU countries, including Sweden, Denmark and the UK, there is already more openness about spending than there is in the Netherlands, where only spending on agriculture is made public.

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