Lords seek answers on Euro accounts

The House of Lords European Union Committee has launched an inquiry into the
mechanisms used to control European expenditure and audit the accounts of the
European Community and Union.

For the past 11 years the European Court of Auditors has not issued a
positive statement of assurance on the accounts of the EU.

The Lords EU Sub-Committee on Economic Affairs will be seeking to identify
the failures that have caused this.

Commenting Lord Radice, chairman of the committee, said: ‘It is unacceptable
that the European Community’s accounts have not been approved by the auditors
for over a decade.

‘Much has changed in Europe in the last 11 years, but one thing that has
remained the same is the failure of the EC to please the auditors.

‘This is a major concern for us and strikes at the heart of the EU’s
credibility. We recognise that the commission has proposed measures to address
this: we want to ensure that they will succeed,’ he said.

In the Commons, the European Scrutiny Committee said progress was being made
with the Commission’s accounts but added: ‘The need for further improvements in
financial management and control is clear.’

The MPs repeated their call for a full scale debate in the Commons to
consider the continuing weaknesses and the government’s optimism that they are
being addressed.

In a further report, the committee was also critical of a failure by the
European Agency for Reconstruction charged with stimulating development in
former Yugoslavia to provide accounts for 2003 that presented a true and fair
view of its economic and financial situation.

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