Margarida Vasconcelos: the EU spending continues to be affected by “material error”

While the UK is being asked to pay an extra and substantial amount of €2.1bn to the EU budget, the European Court of Auditors published its report on the implementation of the 2013 EU Budget. Unsurprisingly, as previous reports, it shows the EU spending continues to be affected by “material error.” The ECA has confirmed the EU 2013 accounts as reliable. However, for 20th year in a row, the ECA couldn't give a clean opinion on EU spending, as it continues to be affected by “material error.” The Court has estimated the error rate for payments from the €148.5 billion 2013 EU budget at 4.7 %. There was just a marginal decrease compared to 2012 budget when it was estimated at 4.8%. It should be mentioned that material error is considered to be an error rate over 2%.

According to the Court, regional policy, energy and transport were “most error-prone spending areas”, as the error rate estimated was 6.9 %. The euro rate estimated for spending in rural development, environment, fisheries and health was 6.7 %. The European Commission control systems continue to be ineffective in ensuring the regularity of payments. This means that €7bn was spent against EU rules governing the spending, therefore it should not have been paid from the EU budget.

The European Court of Auditors particularly stressed that Brussels has been too focus on spending the money rather than achieving results and EU policies objectives. The ECA President Vítor Caldeira said, “From now on, there has to be more careful management and control of EU funds. The European Commission and the Member States must pay more attention to how they spend our taxpayers’ money. We need more incentives to improve performance and to deliver value for money as well as better long-term forecasts to ensure there is enough money for Europe’s planned spending. Just following the usual procedure will no longer be enough.”
In fact, ECA’s special reports have been showing that EU funds are not effective in helping to achieve EU policies objectives and reveal that EU taxpayers’ money is not being properly spent. In fact, these reports show the EU budget wastes millions of taxpayer’s money. British taxpayers’ money has been spent by the EU on projects that are not consistent with the voters’ wishes in general

Year after year and nothing in the overall reality has changed; in the meantime taxpayers' money is being spent in a system that does not work. The British voters have been paying, as taxpayers for direct contributions to the EU, as consumers because of the high prices and costs endured by UK business in complying with EU regulations, as well as higher food prices, which have resulted from implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy.

The outrageous demand by the European Commission to the UK to pay an extra €2.1 billion to the EU budget is the final straw, particularly when the EU monitoring and accounting system is inadequate. The time has come to say No and stop paying this vast amount of money for running the EU, which is a failing project.

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