EU wast­ing mil­lions on aid projects

Daily Mail - - News - By David Churchill Brus­sels Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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