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There are a lot of mistakes in EU spending. This is the conclusion reached by the European Court of Accounts in a report examining expenditures. It is estimated that about 3 per cent of EU spending should not have been done.
This is the third time in a row that the European Board of Auditors has rejected the Commission’s expenditures. According to the regulator, more mistakes are made every year.
For example, after an additional examination, it turned out that money for unemployed young people in France was also given to people who were found to have a job. The European Commission and France did not ask for evidence, but relied only on the statements of the young people themselves.
The Audit Bureau sees it as a matter of concern that more and more errors will occur. “It’s a harsh judgment,” says Steve Block, a member of the European Court of Auditors since the end of July. “I would be very uncomfortable with that.”
A higher number of errors does not automatically mean that there is more fraud with EU funds. The European regulator describes a spending error if the money is not spent according to the rules of the European Parliament and EU countries.
However, 15 cases of suspected fraud were found. This is much more than the previous year. Then six such cases were found. These cases have been referred to the European Anti-fraud Office.
Corona recovery fund
This year, Corona Recovery Fund spending was examined for the first time. This has been around since 2020 and contains 800 billion euros in subsidies and loans, intended for countries to get out of the Corona crisis. Last year, only Spain got money from this fund. The Court did not find significant errors on the part of the Commission here.
However, the Audit Bureau is concerned that, according to Block, it is currently difficult to determine whether the spending is permitted. As next year many countries will receive large sums of money from the Corona Virus Recovery Fund, “time is running out”. The Court recommends that the Committee impose clearly verifiable conditions on states. Then the supervisor can check if the money has been well spent.
In 2021, the European Union spent 181.5 billion euros, which is about 2.4% of all government spending in the 27 EU countries.
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