Europe funds 200.000 virtual cows

15 November 2006

Europe funds 200.000 virtual cows

The European Parliament yesterday debated the way in which vast sums of money are wasted in the European Union. The occasion was the inclusion on the agenda of the Parliament's Strasbourg plenary session of the Annual Report of the European Court of Auditors, the official EU financial watchdog which, year after year, reports the disappearance of enormous amounts of taxpayers' money. Taking just one example, SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard noted that "Europe subsidises 200,000 cows that don't exist!"

Kartika LiotardIn her contribution to the debate on the missing moo-lah, Kartika Liotard said: “The European Court of Auditors is once again negative. There are still far too many, too great and too structural errors in the way in which European money is spent. In that sense this report does not differ greatly from the eleven which preceded it. What has indeed changed, on the other hand, is the reaction to the Auditors' negative judgement..

“In the past the European institutions, such as the Commission, admitted their guilt and promised improvements. This time the Commission has gone full out on the attack, accusing the Court of Auditors of having an overly critical attitude and having produced a report which is unclear. They even say that we have to learn to live with a certain number of mistakes.

“The fact is that Europe is the proud possessor of 200.000 virtual cows, which receive subsidies despite not existing. The fact is that there are once again huge mistakes relating to olive oil, to export subsidies and the structural funds. The fact is that because of all of this, money is not arriving where it is most needed. And the fact is that because of this, the European public is increasingly losing its faith in the Union. A mature institution should accept criticism and use it to improve its procedures. The European institutions have demonstrated that by this measure they, even after fifty years, do not possess this maturity.”

You are here