There are too many errors in the European Unions spending. The European Court of Auditors concludes this in a report that examines expenditure. It is estimated that around 3% of EU spending should not have been made.
This is the third time in a row that the European Court of Auditors rejects the Commissions expenditure. According to the regulator, more mistakes are made every year.
For example, after an additional check, it turned out that money for young unemployed people in France was also given to people who appeared to be employed. The European Commission and France did not ask for evidence, but only relied on the statement made by the young people themselves.
The Court calls it worrying that more and more mistakes are being made. “Its a tough verdict,” says Stef Blok, a member of the European Court of Auditors since the end of July. “It would make me very uncomfortable.”
The higher number of errors does not automatically mean that there is more fraud with EU money. The European regulator mentions an expenditure error if money is not spent according to the rules of the European Parliament and EU countries.
However, fifteen cases of suspected fraud have also been found. That is considerably more than the year before. Then six such cases were found. These cases have been reported to the European Anti-Fraud Office.
Corona Recovery Fund
This year, for the first time, we looked at the expenditure of the corona recovery fund. This has been around since 2020 and contains 800 billion euros in subsidies and loans, intended for countries to emerge from the corona crisis. Last year, only Spain received money from that fund. The Court found no notable errors on the part of the Commission here.
Nevertheless, the Court of Auditors is concerned because, according to Blok, it is now impossible to determine whether expenditure is permitted. Because next year, many more countries will receive large amounts from the corona recovery fund “time is running out”. The Court recommends that the Commission set clearly verifiable conditions for countries. Then the supervisor can check whether money has been well spent.
In 2021, the European Union spent 181.5 billion euros, which is about 2.4 percent of all government spending in the 27 EU countries.