After all, Europe’s accounts are somewhat estranged from the quality of
Siim Kallas, the commission’s vice president for administration, can lump it.
Except that he’s got a point. There’s no reason why his assertion that EU
spending is under ‘tight’ control should not meet with incredulity, but he is
right to say that national governments should bear part of the burden. The EU is
a creature of its members, who spend a lot of the cash, so they too should be
In the past, the National Audit
Office has qualified a number of the UK government’s European accounts for
spending. It also suggests that when the holes appear in EU accounts, they’re
not exclusively restricted to the offices of EU bureaucrats.
There will be some that find this view difficult to understand, the EU and
its ability to account for its money has been a British bogeyman for so long.
But governments should be paying closer attention to their EU funds. It’s
just much easier for them to allow an impression to persist that complaints
about spending control should fall on the EU only, because that’s what most
Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age
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