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article imageAuditors Clear EU Accounts for First Time

By Tim Neale     Nov 15, 2008 in World
A landmark occasion occurred in the European Union last week. For the first time ever, the European Court of Auditors gave a “clean bill of health” to the EU’s account. It has only taken 14 years.
Previously the Auditors had refused to endorse the accounts, although it found the accounts themselves “reliable.” This means that the European Commission had accurately recorded all transactions, assets and liabilities, but there were problems with how the money was spent or who it was given to.
The Auditors report declared due to, "improvements that have taken place," in accountancy standards the reservations expressed in the previously were "no longer necessary." Still, the Auditors expressed reservations concerning spending programs accounting for 80 percent of the EU’s budget. They did stress that most of the remaining irregularities were at national level beyond the control of the Commission.
Of particular cause for concern were the EU structural funds. This spending on poor EU regions was 42 billion euros (US$53.5 billion) in 2007, the Auditors estimate that "at least,” 4.6 billion euros ($58.8 billion), “should not have been paid out."
This disgraceful situation may be improving but it still leaves a great deal to be desired. Even in cases where money is shown to be incorrectly paid and reclaimed, it is often paid back by national treasuries and not by the recipients. So the tax payer is still getting stiffed.
More about European union, Auditors, Accounts
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