Irrgang receives promise from Zalm over monitoring of EU moneys

9 March 2006

Irrgang receives promise from Zalm over monitoring of EU moneys

For the eleventh year in a row the European Court of Auditors has come to the conclusion that what the EU is doing with its money is as clear as mud. Moreover, it is by no means obvious that any improvement can be expected in the future, especially as most other member states are not prepared to work to bring about changes. As far as SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang is concerned, the Netherlands should not simply resign itself to this: “Of course we shouldn't send billions of euros a year to Brussels without it being absolutely clear what happens to this money when it gets there.”

Mr Irrgang this afternoon took part in a debate with Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm and heard the minister promise to do all in his power to put pressure on his colleagues in the EU Economic and Financial Council (ECOFIN) to change their ways. To this end the Netherlands would not be agreeing to a discharge – the term given to an approval of the annual accounts – with regard to spending from the European budget, Mr Zalm assured him.

Under further pressure from the SP Member, the minister said that he would “make a point” over it. The Netherlands would in addition take the lead by becoming the first EU member state to give up the EU subsidies which this spending concerns. Hopefully the other member states would be spurred on by this to take more responsibility in the future for EU moneys disbursed on their territory. To date the member states had refused to make a declaration of such responsibility compulsory.

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