Damning auditor’s report slams lax EU politicians

The EU Court of Auditors has drawn up a damning preliminary report that lambasts several European parliamentary groups for inadequate audit reports and a lax control of accounts.

Smaller groups in Brussels such as the Greens have come in for particular criticism for late and incorrect accounts.

The embarrassing revelations will come as a severe blow to the parliament only last March sparked the resignation of the European Commission over allegations of fraud and mismanagement.

The confidential report leaked in this morning’s Financial Times also claims that political groups used EU parliamentary money to back pan-European political organisations and national election campaigns without sanction from EU law.

The auditors talk about a ‘frequent absence of satisfactory internal control systems’ and ‘weaknesses of external auditing arrangements’ that have led to ‘significant problems’ for checks on transactions.

‘It is not certain that funds have always been used according to the principles of good financial management’, the report states.

However, the report on money granted in 1998 to political groups has found no evidence of corruption or fraud.

Parliament now has until mid-June to respond before the Court of Auditors publishes its final report.

Simon Murphy, the British Labour leader in the parliament, said: ‘If MEPs are to hold commissioners properly to account they must put their own house in order.’

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