Saturday, November 19, 2016

On the subject of the EU accounts ...

I wrote a couple of days ago about the differing reaction of people to comments from EU Auditors.

I have made a number of attempts, most recently here, to explain the truth about the oft-repeated claim that the European Court of Auditors (ECA) have not signed off the EU accounts for twenty-two consecutive years.

You would think that there would be a simple binary yes/no answer to anyone who asks whether this is true, but unfortunately there isn't. There are questions to which it is simply not possible to give a "Yes or No" answer which is not at best seriously misleading and this is one of them.

In terms of the accuracy of the accounts themselves, the EU's auditors "qualified" them as containing material errors for every year from 1994 to 2006.

Since then however the ECA has accepted that the accounts give an accurate picture of the EU's income and expenditure every year from 2007 to the most recent accounts, for 2015.

In terms of what those accounts actually say about whether all EU money was spent properly, however, the European Court of Auditors has found in every year since 1994 that there were material errors in EU spending - specifically that more than 2% of EU expenditure was not correctly spent because it was not spent on the purposes for which the rules allow it to be spent. In 2015 the percentage of wrongly spent money was 3.8%.

On a budget the size of the EU's that represents billions of pounds a year of incorrectly spent money. It's not necessarily all fraud or waste but it is absolutely not right that such vast sums should be spent on purposes which have not been properly and legally approved, and it is an absolute scandal that mis-spending on this scale was not adequately brought under control years ago.

Here is a graphic from the "Full Facts" fact checking website explaining in which years the Auditors said that the EU accounts were not accurate enough, and in which years they said the accounts were accurate but too much money was not being spent correctly.

The article from which this is taken is an extremely good one and you can read it at

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