Simplify EU rules to reduce spending errors, says Conservative MEP.

13-Oct-2016 @ 12:00

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Simplify EU rules to reduce spending errors, says Conservative MEP.

 The Court of Auditors has today signed off the EU's accounts for 2015 but notes that the level of error in payments remained above target.

Although the error rate dropped from 4.4 per cent in 2014 to 3.8 per cent in 2015, it continues to breach the EU's so called "materiality threshold" of 2 per cent.

Conservative Budgets spokesman Richard Ashworth MEP said this was largely due to Member States failing to spend EU money correctly, which in turn was often caused by the complexity of European rules.

“I am pleased to see the overall rate of error drop but every year the same areas exhibit the same weaknesses," said Mr Ashworth. "Far too often, those weaknesses are directly linked to the complexity of the regulation.

"It is time that we simplified the rules and, in the areas of persistent failure, consider cutting programmes.”

He praised Budget Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva's efforts to ensure EU money is spent more effectively.

Mr Ashworth said: "“EU citizens tell us that they don’t want to spend more money so we need to use the money we have more efficiently, which is why I am pleased with Commissioner Georgieva’s performance-based budgeting agenda.”

“Crucially, however, MEPs need to take responsibility for this too and increase their scrutiny.”

Estimates of the level of error in the EU budget are not a measure of fraud, inefficiency or waste. They calculate the money that should not have been paid out because it was not used in accordance with the rules and regulations.

The three most common errors occurred when ineligible costs were included in claims; when farmers incorrectly declared areas; and when funding went to ineligible projects.

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