Corruption: who’s holding the EU accountable?

If we are to rely on Transparency International’s (TI) corruption score, the EU member states tend to have lower corruption scores than those seeking to join the Club.  Based on this, TI published the following press release:

TI is deeply concerned about the high levels of corruption in all EU candidate and potential candidate countries, in particular Macedonia (FYROM), which has EU candidacy status. None of the countries have substantially improved their anti-corruption record. The overarching critical perception displayed in the broad decline of 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index scores among several EU countries are indicative of a need to continue anti-corruption reforms, even after EU membership.

That’s all well and good, but what about the corruption and fraud within the European Union?  The TI didn’t have a press release on that issue, but another think-tank did.

The Open Europe (OE) released its own report focused on various institutions of the European Union, and while the OE is unambiguously euroskeptic, I don’t see why its criticism (if it is supported with evidence showing fraud) should be dismissed based merely on its ideological commitment.

The Daily Mail reports:

The breakdown of the misuse of money by the European Commission and EU agencies was produced by the Open Europe think-tank.  It came on the eve of publication of the verdict on their accounts by the European Court of Auditors, which acts as accountants to the EU. The court has refused to sign off the books for 13 years because of suspicions of widespread fraud and mismanagement.

The auditors are expected to refuse to endorse the accounts again today.

Much of the doubt surrounds the two huge subsidy programmes run from Brussels. One is the Common Agricultural Policy, which pays farmers £40billion a year to produce, and sometimes not to produce, food.  The other is the £35billion Structural Funds system, which is designed to boost local economies.

I wonder when the European Commission will suspend funds to itself for failing to meet basic accountability standards, as it did to Bulgaria earlier in the year?

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