It shows that ‘error’ – or possible fraud in layman’s terms – is on the rise again, up from 3.9% of the total budget in 2011 to 4.8% in 2012, equating to over 6 Billion Euros of taxpayer’s money that cannot be accounted for properly.
In a stark assessment of the EU’s controls, dressed up in euro-speak, the report says there is insufficient focus on ‘performance’ – value for money – across the policy areas.
The largest rises in ‘error’ were in external relations, foreign aid and enlargement up from 1.1% to 3.3%, with other notable areas ‘prone to error’ identified as Fisheries, rural development, agriculture, regional Policy and Transport all up on 2011 figures.
I am disgusted that the European Commission is simply paying lip service about getting fraud under check.
Despite pressure from the European Council, the way the EU makes payments from its Budget is getting steadily worse not better.
This should send alarm bells ringing across Member States governments. However, I fear there is a business as usual mentality, where ‘irregularities’ are tolerated despite the huge amounts of money involved.
This mentality is not helped by the terminology used by the Auditors who refer to the payments being underperforming. Such contrived language is an insult to the taxpayers’ whose money has effectively disappeared as the Auditors cannot get to the bottom of where it has gone.
In any private enterprise, if almost 5% of the budget was in a black hole, heads would roll and the shareholders would demand change at the top.
A copy of the report can be found here: http://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/AR_2012.aspx
My intervention in Committee yesterday when the report was presented was picked up by the BBC. You can catch it here:
Also I did an interview with a local radio station – Radio Jackie – on this:
The clip of my interview is right here: