European Parliament reticent over fraud

21 March 2006

European Parliament reticent over fraud

Today and yesterday the European Parliament's Committee for Budgetary Control debated the annual accounts for 2004 of the various EU institutions for 2004. To the amazement of the SP's Euro-MPs the Committee voted to accept the controversial 2004 accounts of the Committee of the Regions, an unelected consultative body consisting of invited members of local and regional councils in the 25 member states.

Erik MeijerThe Budgetary Control Committee voted yesterday against a proposal to call for testimony from two experts who are conducting an investigation into possible fraud at the Comitee of the de Regions, and today they voted to approve the annual accounts, even though this investigation is still proceeding. SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer, commenting on the two votes, said "The European Parliament still refuses to take fraud seriously. This really sends a very bad signal to the European public and to the institutions themselves. At the Parliament's coming Plenary meeting I intend to propose that this decision be reversed, and that the budget not be approved until the fraud investigation is completed."

Internal auditors are continuing their investigation into apparent irregularities at the Committee of the Regions. OLAF, the EU's own fraud detection service, is at the same time conducting a separate enquiry at the same institution. In view of this, Mr Meijer asked "would it not be proper to want to know the result of these investigations before you give approval to the Committee's annual budget? This is unfortunately the umpteenth time that the European Parliament has lost its tongue when it comes to fraud within the European institutions."

During the Plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg the issue will once again come to the vote, one which will be open to all Members. The SP will vote to reject the budget as long as investigations into fraud continue, at the same time proposing a resolution to that effect.

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