EU financial controls still weak

Serious financial errors in the commission’s accounts have led the European Court of Auditors to qualify its opinion.

‘Financial statements,’ said John Wiggins, UK representative at the court, ‘are still affected by errors, and too many payments are made for the wrong amount, or to beneficiaries who do not meet all the conditions for EU aid.’

The court has reserved its audit opinion on all aspects of European institutions except for administrative expenditure.

In the court’s annual report released this week, Wiggins added: ‘The commission has not had the nerve to propose the abolition of the complicated and useless separate budgetary control over commitment, nor – despite the court’s repeated urging and a good report by consultants – has it yet proposed the installation of the sort of integrated modern accounting system needed both for effective financial management and for reliable financial reporting.’

The report however credits the commission for seeking to improve financial management and reform pay and conditions but said it still ‘has a long way to go’.

Wiggins, who led the audit, is due to step down this December. He will be replaced by David Bostock who is currently on secondment at the National Audit Office.


Opinion from John Wiggins

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