11th May 2011
As I tour the South West and talk to people one issue is mentioned again and again, namely the EU Accounts and their failure to be signed off each year by the Court of Auditors. We may only have recently started a new financial year but it is the same annual story once again. For the 16th year in a row the EU's Court of Auditors has been unwilling to give the accounts a statement of assurance. Once again there were flaws in the accounts, and despite opposition from Conservative MEPs and our allies in the European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR) Group, they have been accepted by European politicians.
How can we insist on accountability in the various EU departments when MEPs consistently vote to accept flawed accounts. This year there is a slight improvement in the accountability of future financial decisions made by the European Parliament's Bureau as two ECR amendments were passed at the vote. At the moment the Bureau is making financial decisions behind closed doors without first seeking Parliamentary approval; that approval will now be needed. The problem is that unless MEPs are willing to hold the Bureau to account on its decisions then this will be little more than a rubber stamping exercise.
We need greater accountability in the accounts together with a comprehensive spending review in the Parliament to cut waste and save money. We need MEPs standing up for their local taxpayers to demand transparency and value for money from the European Union. Every year that we accept sub standard accounts and every time we approve wasteful expenditure we let the people of Britain and Europe down.