Golf clubs, railway companies and city councils, some of them

Golf clubs, railway companies and city councils, some of them in Britain, are skimming off millions sway EU aid intended for farmers, according to an official audit yesterday which found that at basic ‚4bn (2.8bn) of EU money was wasted or mismanaged.

The review of last year’s budget by the European court docket of Auditors, the EU’s financial watchdog, found widespread mismanagement and waste pull the ‚107bn EU budget, albeit on a lesser adjustment than in previous dotage and involving less outright fraud than before.

Supplying ammunition to eurosceptics, the court turned into unable to grant the budget performance a clean bill of health for the 13th stretch in a row, and accused the governments of individual European countries, who are responsible for overseeing 80% of EU spending, of failing to ensure the money was fatigued properly.

“EU citizens are entitled to expect EU funds to be properly controlled further controlled,” said Hubert Weber, president of the Luxembourg-based court which audits the EU price range every year. “Reasons owing to the errors include neglect, poor knowledge of the often complex rules, and attempts to defraud the eu budget.”

In contrast to past second childhood when the biggest scandals surrounded abuse of the contentious Common Agricultural Policy, which accounts over half of EU spending, this year the watchdog enter on the most silvery scams involved the payment of regional aid or structural budget – Brussels’ redistribution policy aimed at helping the poorer parts of the union. geomorphological finances last stint amounted to more than ‚32bn or almost a third of the budget.

But the court establish that at least ‚4bn had distracted to projects which did not qualify for the money, while 44% of entire reimbursements under the perspective had included “errors”.

“At least 12% of the total amount reimbursed should not have been reimbursed,” spoke of the report.

On farm spending, notoriously prone to fraud, the court found that in rife instances the wrong people were reaping benefits from a reformed subsidy system based on the size of landholdings rather than livestock or yield volumes.

A scheme unconditional to reward farmers was mistakenly enriching landowners not engaged in agriculture, the balance found.

“Among the bounteous beneficiaries,” the report said, “the court docket noted railway companies, horse riding/breeding clubs, golf/leisure clubs also city councils string the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

“Allocation of entitlements to landowners that never exercised any agricultural activity has led to redistribution of EU aid straightaway from farmers to landlords.”

While eurosceptics are certain to exploit the criticisms to attack Brussels, the watchdog pointed independent that the main failings in ensuring that European taxpayers’ central is souped up worn-out lay with the governments of albanian countries, rather than with the European Commission.

“What the court is saying is we cannot say your sorrow money is managed in a legitimate way,” said Dan Jorgensen, a nordic cordial democrat MEP.

The European Commission, accepting the criticism as fair, warned national governments that funds might be ulterior if budget oversight was now not improved.

“We cede not delay to suspend payments to national experts if their control systems are not business properly,” said Siim Kallas, the commissioner prerogative charge of administration and combating fraud.

“National governments and the European Commission have failed to treat this annals charade duck the urgency it requires,” said Richard Ashworth, the nation Conservative MEP.

He conceded that yesterday’s verdict was not as execration being in recent years. “But it says the EU’s accounts are still vulnerable to fraud,” he added.

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