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It’s so mad it’s true – accountability and the EU!

16 February 2011

On Tuesday Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden withheld approval of the European Union’s 2009 accounts over concerns about a lack of transparency on how EU funds are spent.

'Concerns' is understating it.

The EU basically have single entry bookkeeping. They are very good at counting the money in and of course, chasing member nations who haven't coughed up. But they can't tell you where the money has been spent.

The EU accounts as a consequence, have been qualified by the Auditors for the last 16 consecutive years.

Diplomats were pressing the European Commission and fellow member states to improve accountability for the EU's annual budget of 140 billion euros.

The basic problem is this, what is the money spent on? Unfortunately, only 4 out of 27 member states will provide that information.

Is this a problem for the EU? Well, according to the EU approval process 'Legally, there is no impact if the accounts are not approved'.

Several years ago, EU Chief Accountant Marta Andreasen, was sacked by Neil Kinnock, then an EU commissioner, when she raised concerns about possible fraud in the EU accounts.

Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden this week, blamed insufficient progress in combating fraud as one of the main reasons for with holding approval of the accounts.

Sad, but true. This could make an interesting TV series.

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