Cohesion funding, as regular readers of the blog will know is a £40 billion a year behemoth that accounts for just over a third of all the EU’s spending. It deals with supporting various projects, primarily in poorer countries, that the EU says could stimulate local economies.
The funding, the European Court of Auditors say, has the highest ‘error rate’ – EU speak for unaccounted for money – amongst the various audited budget lines. On Cohesion the Court has also said that there are “too many cases of EU money not hitting the target or being used sub-optimally”.
Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski was in the European Parliament on Tuesday, asking for money to plug the hole, laying the blame on a glut of invoices that arrived at year end.
I had to make sure my headphones were working correctly when I heard the Commissioner announce he needed a 23.4 Billion Euro transfer to pay for unpaid invoices.
It is less than 3 months since he came cap in hand to the committee asking for an 11.2 billion top up to the 2103 budget. It was duly granted, despite my objections that we should not be throwing more money away on failing policy areas.
To blame a number of late invoices is really taking the biscuit and just underlines the utter incompetence, not to say the continued disdain with which the EU treats taxpayers’ money.
It seems that the European Commission is not only unwilling but is also completely unable to live within the means agreed. It repeatedly comes back, blaming others and looking for more cash.
That it seeks this money for Cohesion, the area of the EU budget most open to ‘errors’ as identified by the Court of Auditors is deeply worrying. But, as usual, MEPs will carry on rewarding this failure.
I got two good hits on this story in the Mail and the Express. You can find the links below: