Rising chunk of Europe budget spent in error

THE SLICE of the European Union’s budget that was used incorrectly rose in the 2012 financial year, with over €6bn (£5.04bn) spent wrongly.

The official error rate rose to 4.8 per cent, up from 3.9 per cent, according to the European Court of Auditors (ECA). Of the EU’s €138.6bn budget, this suggests that €6.65bn was spent incorrectly.

The EU’s agricultural, regional, energy, transport and research budgets, among others, were found to be “affected by material error”, and that the systems to control and supervise spending were only “partially effective”. Rural development and environmental spending was most likely to be done in error, with one euro in 13, or 7.9 per cent of funding, used in ways that did not comply with legislation.

ECA president Vitor Caldeira commented: “Europe’s citizens have a right to know what their money is being spent on and whether it is being used properly,” adding, “particularly at a time when there is such pressure on public finances.” The auditors argue that there should be a focus on financial management.