European Union wasted money, audit finds


People clash with police in the streets during a demonstration against the new austerity measures on February 12, 2012 in Athens, Greece. Austerity has not saved Greece's economy, but it may fare better in other countries


Milos Bacanski

The European Union has been found to have wasted about 4 percent of its own funds last year, the Daily Telegraph reported

In an audit, the European Court of Auditors found "substantial errors" in EU spending, the Irish Times reported. "You would think that after 18 years, a more mature EU could have its accounts signed off, but no. The EU - a byword for corruption and waste - has failed again," Godfrey Bloom, a member of the European Parliament and spokesman for the British party UKIP, told the Times. 

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The European Court of Auditors said there were errors in allocating about 5 billion euros from the 2011 budget, BBC news reported. Critics say that the figures reflect the EU's wastefulness.

The finding isn't a huge surprise, as the audit is in line with the verdict delivered on the EU's finances for a number of years, the Guardian reported."For the 18th consecutive year, the European court of auditors has not been able to give a positive statement of assurance, which seriously undermines the credibility of the EU's financial management," a British government spokesman told the Guardian.

Each of the 27 states that are members of the EU contribute about 1 percent of their gross domestic product to the EU budget, the Associated Press reported. The money is then invested across Europe, and 80 percent of the budget is redistributed back to the member states. The other 20 percent remains under control of the European Commission. The EU has a summit later this month to discuss future budgets, and wealthy nations are expected to insist that the EU must reduce its spending.