Klaus-Heiner Lehne, president of the European Court of Auditors, on left, presents a copy of the ECA’s 2016 annual report on EU spending to Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, in Brussels on 27 September 2017
Photo: European Parliament
There has been a marked improvement in “irregular” EU spending, the bloc’s budget watchdog has said.
“As a result, the auditors have issued a qualified opinion on 2016 payments, rather than an adverse one. This is their first qualified opinion since they began to provide an annual statement of assurance in 1994. In addition, the auditors have given a clean opinion on the 2016 EU accounts’ reliability, or “signed them off”, as has been the case every year since 2007.”
An “error” does not necessarily indicate fraud; it merely indicates that a payment was made without fully complying with EU rules. Often the cause is human error.
The body credited “action” by the European Commission and member states for reducing the error rate, but said existing procedures needed to be followed more closely to get the error rate below the 2% ceiling.
The budget watchdog reported that:
“In 2016, spending totalled €136.4 billion, or around €267 for every citizen. On average, EU spending represented 2.0% of the total general government spending of EU member states.”
The ECA is based in Kirchberg and employs around 900 staff members.