Sunday, 19 November 2006

The EU is no alternative to the USA: a reminder

This from the Democracy Movement:

Auditors refuse to approve EU's accounts for 12th year running
24th October 2006

The EU Court of Auditors has today published the results of
their audit of the EU's 2005 accounts and has once again
refused to certify the accounts as legal and reliable.

For the 12th year in a row, the Court has qualified the EU's
accounts having found "weak internal controls for the
majority of EU expenditure, both within Member States and at
the Commission". The Court also reported a "high incidence
of errors in the underlying transactions" and that
"Overdeclarations and ineligible expenditure continue to go
undetected within the majority of EU expenditure areas".

Contrary to EU spin, the problems were not limited to the
areas where the EU member countries have a role in managing
funds. The report also found "deficiences in internal
control" in expenditure
on "internal policies" and "external
action" which are both multi-billion pound funds directly
managed by the EU Commission.

The Commission yesterday launched a pre-emptive attack
against both the Court of Auditors and EU member countries
in an attempt to deflect blame for this situation. Yet the
EU treaty, of which the Commission is supposed to be the
'guardian', says in Article 274 that the Commission is
responsible for implementing the EU budget. Further, Article
53 of the Financial Regulation applicable to the EU budget
confirms that the Commission has "final responsibility"
where funds are subject to "shared management".

As the Court's president Hubert Weber also confirmed in his
comments on this year's report, "it is the responsibility of
the Commission to administer the budget in a way that
reduces the risk of irregularities."

Reacting to the Court of Auditors' latest report, DM
campaign director Marc Glendening said:

"The key question for our government is just how many years
of the EU's failure to properly account for public money do
they intend to tolerate before calling a halt to the vast
sums we are sending the EU?

"According to the EU budget deal Tony Blair did last
December, this will increase to an astonishing £115 million
a week from next year - even taking account of EU grants and
subsidies we receive back.

"No benefit whatsoever can be claimed for handing over this
cash while not even the EU's auditors can reliably confirm
how public money is being spent.

"Instead of rewarding the EU's failure year after year the
government should immediately stop the cheques to the EU and
put the large sums saved to the many better uses evident in
even just recent media reports of NHS cuts and post office

Read the EU Court of Auditors press release here:

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