For the 20th year in a row the EU’s auditors could today give the bloc’s accounts only a qualified statement of assurance.
The Court of Auditors’ report on the EU’s accounts for 2013, published this morning, shows the estimated error rate, measuring the level of irregularity in the accounts for 2013 payments, at 4.7%. That is almost identical to 2012’s figure of 4.8%.
It notes that the vast majority of EU expenditure – 80 per cent – is conducted by member states. Both the auditors and the new Budget Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva today called for a culture change to tackle the root problem. They stressed the urgent need for member states to take political ownership of the EU funding they spend. They also called for the Commission to exercise greater performance management.
Conservative budget spokesman Richard Ashworth MEP said: “We regret that no progress has been made on this deep-rooted problem. We welcome the determination of the new commissioner and the comments of the Court of Auditors calling for culture change and greater political responsibility from national governments.
“But we would go further. Conservatives say it is high time the European Parliament took a more active role in the scrutiny of expenditure of taxpayers’ money and MEPs held Commissioners more directly to account for how money is spent on their watch.”