BusinessCompany NewsKinnock’s budget in the clear

Kinnock's budget in the clear

European Commission vice president Neil Kinnock can breath a sigh ofrelief after a vote by the European Parliament'sbudget control committee to recommend the discharge of the EU?s year 2001 accounts.

Link: Kinnock’s position more secure

The decision brings to an end concerns thatthe committee would withhold consent because of revelations aboutmismanagement that Kinnock is alleged to have ignored, notably thosemade by whistle-blower and former chief accountant Marta Andreason, nowsuspended from her job.

Ironically, in its concluding remarks, made on Monday, the committee expressed’concern’ over the high turnover of administrative staff in such ‘highranking and crucial’ Commission posts.

Members said that in future,Brussels accounting officers should sign accounts presented under theirresponsibility. MEP’s also called on the EU?s financial watchdog theCourt of Auditors to publish an error rate for each Commissiondirectorate general and also for an external audit of Brussels’treasury system.

Britain and Italy also came under fire over their alleged overestimatesin demands for structural fund aid. The committee drew attention toresulting unspent budgets, accusing London and Rome of ‘grossoverestimates’ and an ‘obvious lack of sincerity’. MEP’s called on theCommission to consider introducing a penalty mechanism in such cases.

The budget will now be referred to the full parliament, where furtherdelays to the discharge are not expected.

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