This article was first published on Brexit Central.
Is there no end to the wasteful ways in which the European Union will spend our money? Week after week, new details emerge of such waste, which exposes the reality about the EU’s careless attitude when it comes to the money raised in tax by EU member states.
It is easy to spend other people’s money, but it isn’t so easy when there is genuine democratic control over how the money is spent.
This has always been the fundamental problem with the EU. The majority of EU power is vested in 28 unelected Commissioners who are therefore invulnerable to public opinion.
Very few people know who their MEPs are in the European Parliament, with confusing elections focusing on domestic issues rather than EU competences, resulting in appalling election turnouts. Consequently, the EU acts with impunity, even when it comes to UK taxpayers’ money.
It is therefore no surprise to learn of the waste and misuse of funds which continue to occur year after year. Without democratic supervision there is no incentive for close examination of spending.
It has recently been reported that – for the 22nd year in a row – the EU’s Court of Auditors refused to fully sign off on the EU’s annual budget as it has been “materially affected by error”. Some claim the Court of Auditors refuse to sign off due to slight procedural errors, but this is untrue. The auditors allow for a 2% error rate, but the current error rate is 3.8%.
The report details an €874,309 loan to Mozambique – without any receipt to corroborate the spending; a €16,500 donation to a fake youth club in Azerbaijan; €4,000 spent on a mountain bike; €3,500 on a panoramic spyglass; and €100,000 to build dry stone walls which had no EU objective, to name just a few.
However, these are by no means the limits of wasteful spending by the EU, merely a few examples.
Research recently conducted by Get Britain Out has revealed further wasteful spending.
On 10th October a report was discussed in the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education calling for the European Commission to bring forward legislation making 2018 the ‘European Year of Cultural Heritage’.
The proposer foresaw this proposal as having a budget of €4 million, with the funding coming from existing EU budgets. Ironically, the author of the report believes the challenge of this proposal is its “limited budget”, despite millions being spent on a glorified PR campaign.
The aim of the proposal is to “raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities and highlight the role of the EU in promoting shared solutions” (in other words propaganda).
Another report – this time presented to the Budgetary Control Committee – revealed there has been an extraordinary misuse of EU funds to candidate countries attempting to join the EU, such as Turkey. The report claims there have been 397 cases of irregularities regarding EU funding to candidate countries since 2002. These irregularities involve almost €27 million (€26,922,744) in EU funding.
Of this €26,922,744 of misused EU funds, only €9 million has been recovered to date.
Once the UK finally leaves the EU, responsibility for spending taxpayers’ money will once again rest with our own democratically-elected representatives. If the money is poorly spent, the Government can expect to be given short shrift by the electorate.
The Brexit vote was fundamentally about control, and it is about time we regained control over how our money is spent.