‘European Commission wastes taxpayers' money, sometimes illegally’

26 November 2009

‘European Commission wastes taxpayers' money, sometimes illegally’

Dennis de Jong, SP group leader in the European Parliament, delivered a stinging critique during today's plenary session of the Parliament of the way in which the EU spends its money. De Jong is particularly concerned by the European Commission's expenditure in the framework of external relations. This has also been the subject of criticism from the EU's own Court of Auditors, which described some of the spending as unlawful.

Dennis de JongDuring the debate De Jong interrogated the European Commissioner with responsibility for external relations, Siim Kallas, over the suitability and efficiency of the Commission's foreign policy spending. Kallas replied that this was impossible to determine "because the goals of external policy are so vague". De Jong noted that this meant that "money is being spent while it is not clear what the aims of this expenditure are. The Commission is making, in this fashion, a real mess of this."

Public procurement for aid projects outside Europe also earns the Commission a highly unsatisfactory grade. In the Netherlands, local and regional authorities complain constantly about the complicated and unclear rules imposed by Brussels in relation to putting projects out to tender. The European Court of Auditors, for its part, observes that the European Commission is incapable of holding aid projects outside the EU to its rules. "Who do the Commission think they are," asked De Jong, "to be auditing our local authorities when they themselves time after time make mistakes in putting their own projects out to tender? When I read how sloppily the Commission handles its own expenditure, it confirms for me that development cooperation would be better in the hands of the member states."

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