Ex-communist state accounting ‘no worse’

New member states are no worse at controlling the spending of the EU’s
regional aid budget than countries in Western Europe, the European Court of
Auditors has said.

In an
with the Financial Times
, Vítor Manuel Silva Caldeira, president of the
court, said that there was no hard evidence that the former communist countries
of central and Eastern Europe were worse than older member states.

‘Problems we found, for example, in Slovenia and the Czech Republic were not
different from those we found in older member states,’ he said.

‘What is different is that the capacity of new member states to absorb all
the financing that they had available, and to commit to projects, was limited.’

The court has refused to give the EU accounts a clean bill of health for 13
years, repeatedly faulting the levels of fraud and error in the numbers.

Senior officials at the EU argue, however, that there is little fraud, only
complicated systems and strict audit requirements.

Further Reading:

the FT’s interview

Accountancy Age’s interview with the EU’s chief accountant, Brian Gray

Related reading