EU accounts reform delayed in three directorate generals

A European Commission report has admitted that the comprehensive introduction
of accrual accounting to European Union (EU) accounts has been delayed in three
directorate generals, or ‘DG’s’ in Brussels’ famously baffling jargon.

The reform was hailed as a cornerstone of attempts in Brussels to improve
accounting rigour, following a series of scandals and criticism about

However, although accrual accounting was used to test and document the EU’s
provisional accounts for 2005 by this March 31, reliable accrual systems are not
yet in place for the Europe Aid Cooperation Office (AIDCO), and the directorate
generals for external affairs (RELEX) and education and culture (EAC).

The report said: ‘As regards the three local systems which could not be
validated: two are planned to become compliant by end-2006 (AIDCO and RELEX).
There have been delays in developing a replacement for the third system (EAC),
so the DG concerned will have to ensure that the present system can be improved
in time for the closure of the 2006 financial year.’

A staff shortage is partly to blame, hinted the report, with Brussels
‘addressing the issue of its lack of qualified accounting staff by launching
specialised external competitions to attract candidates with appropriate
training and experience’ and increasing in-house training courses.

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