EU wasting millions on aid projects
MILLIONS of pounds were squandered on European Union aid and overseas projects last year, a report has found.
A radio drama series in Mozambique, broken toilets in Haiti and computer systems in empty offices in Jamaica were among examples of funds being misspent.
Cash was also wasted on training schemes in Bosnia where less than half of people turned up, a giant pigsty for a Polish farm not entitled to funds and 31 plane tickets for contractors for a jaunt to Jamaica.
Yesterday’s European Court of Auditors report into the bloc’s annual budget of around £138billion found £4billion was misspent. The budget for aid and overseas projects was around £720million, of which around 3 per cent was misspent.
The report found the EU Commission had sometimes ‘assumed’ cash was spent within the rules.
The UK pays around £9billion to the EU each year. And the bloc is demanding £39billion in a Brexit
‘No one is in control’
divorce bill agreed by Theresa May – even if there is No Deal.
Tory MP Nigel Evans said yesterday: ‘While we’re in the EU, we have little control over how this money is spent. In fact, it looks like no one is in control over how this money is spent.’
And Tory MEP Geoffrey Van Orden said: ‘It seems no global lost cause is too obscure for the EU to lavish its notional largesse – actually ours.
‘The UK currently spends £1.5billion of its aid budget through the EU. We get little credit for this and have to rely on EU oversight.’
The report singled out a contract between the EU Commission and a non-governmental organisation for a sanitation project in Haiti. A check on a public bathroom built under the programme found ‘the toilets were not functioning properly and some were not open for use’.
Auditors also found a £160,000 grant for improving access to food and nutrition in Mozambique had been used to set up ‘a radio-drama series’ – which it said was a ‘principle of economy not respected’.
The report found around 2.6 per cent of the EU’s budget was misspent last year, up from 2.4 per cent from the year before.
Brexit Party MEP Michael Heaver, who highlighted the findings during a European Parliament hearing, said: ‘This report will send shivers up the spines of British taxpayers.’
An EU Commission spokesman said the report ‘did not match’ its own assessment and that it was often up to member states to conduct checks.