EU budget rejected: in time of crisis, millions are wasted

12 November 2009

EU budget rejected: in time of crisis, millions are wasted

A minimum of 11% of the €36.6 billion which the EU spends annually on regional projects should not have been paid out, according to findings published by the European Court of Auditors. Ewout Irrgang, Member of Parliament for the SP, reacting to the revelations, said: “Subsidies paid out twice, subsidies for fallow land paid out under the guise of landscape management, subsidies for water towers which were never in use. The EU wastes billions, most of it in richer member states such as Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Money is paid by the member states to Brussels only to be paid back to the member states, a practice which should be stopped. Aid should only go to poor member states, and of course it must be under strict control.”

Ewout IrrgangThis was the fifteenth time that the European Court of Auditors, the Europe Union's official financial watchdog, was unable to approve the whole of the EU budget. Every year the scandal is repeated, and to repeated cries of 'shame!', but to the SP's extreme annoyance nothing ever appears to be done about it. Other member states appear unimpressed when the Netherlands responds by adding its own refusal to approve the books. "Unfortunately we can't veto the annual EU budget," says Irrgang, "but I propose that the countries where most of the mistakes occur should be passed on to the EU's anti-fraud service. They would probably be sensitive to such a move." Irrgang is urging the government to use the Netherlands' veto in cases where there is no visibly correct spending of moneys allocated.

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