Let’s just remember excessive and fraudulent government spending isn’t just a problem limited to Greece or Ireland.
The European Union’s cohesion policy, whereby wealthier members subsidise development of less wealthy nations, has failed to achieve a clean bill of health from auditors for the 16th year in a row:
Over a third of the €35.5 billion allocated by the EU in 2009 for regional infrastructure projects were affected by errors, either unintentional, as EU funding rules are often too complex for regional authorities and small contractors to cope with, or as a sign of fraud, the annual report of the Court of Auditors says.
“The Court estimates that almost a third of the errors found on the interim and final payments tested could have been detected and corrected by member states before certifying expenditure to the commission, as the audit shows they had the information to do so,” EU chief auditor Vitor Caldeira told MEPs on Tuesday (9 November).
In a rush to “absorb EU funds” by all means, member states often allow other fake or erroneous bills to replace those detected as “ineligible,” he added.
In EU new member state Romania, journalists have uncovered that two cross-border centres funded with over €840,000 are actually being used by regional authorities for private parties and weddings.
The cohesion spending audited above accounts for a third of the total E.U. budget; it’s no small deal.