"Today in the European Parliament, the contempt with which EU institutions hold the British taxpayer was shown in all its pathetic glory," said UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen
shortly after the Strasbourg session to debate the 2008 budget discharge.
"During the parliament session to debate the passing of the EU budget, not one member of the Court of Auditors turned up, while a member of the European Council only arrived after a full hour of debate had passed," Ms Andreasen explained.
"This is truly despicable. And to add insult to injury, the EU Parliament has postponed the budget vote until May 6th, election day when next to no UK MEPs will be present in the chamber," she added.
The MEP for the South East region pointed out at the pivotal debate that "the auditors’ report for 2008 only clears 10% of the budget. The rest is affected by different levels of errors. Would any board of directors approve the management of a company in such a state of affairs? Of course not."
"Given,' she said, 'that the EU Budget had not been passed by the Court of Auditors for 15 years, this latest sign of contempt by the EU institutions just shows their arrogance."
The former EU chief accountant who was sacked from her job for calling attention to potential abuse of taxpayers' funds by the EU, rhetorically asked her fellow MEPs: "Can taxpayers tolerate this game anymore?"
She concluded her speech by calling on the EU Parliament to vote against the approval of the latest EU Budget.
Full text of speech:
Marta Andreasen (UKIP), on behalf of the EFD Group
– Mr President, the discharge is one of the most important acts that we are responsible for. We are effectively being called to approve the way in which the European taxpayer’s money has been spent and we have to base our decision on the report by the European Court of Auditors.
The auditors’ report for 2008 only clears 10% of the budget. The rest is affected by different levels of errors. Would any board of directors approve the management of a company in such a state of affairs? Of course not.
The situation has been the same for the last 15 years, and this Parliament has always granted discharge, on the basis of the improvement in the use of European Union funds. I am sorry to say that what the taxpayers want to know is if their money has gone to the right person for the right purpose and for the right amount. We should be making the decision on discharge in view of this.
Over the years the only progress achieved by the Commission, Parliament and the Council is the shifting of responsibility to Member States. While it is true that programmes are implemented in Member States, the institution to which the European taxpayers entrust their money is the European Commission. This is the institution that releases the money and that should, therefore, be performing the necessary controls before doing so.
To make matters worse, the Commission and Parliament are now discussing a tolerable risk of error. Why tolerate any error – the new name for irregularity – when the financial complexity of the European Union is that of a medium-sized bank? Last year the Council discharge was postponed from April to November because this Parliament said it was not satisfied with their financial management, even if the auditors did not criticise their financial management. When the situation had not changed by November, this Parliament took the decision to discharge the Council. Now again all cannons are directed to the Council and postponement is being proposed.
Are we being serious about our responsibility or are we playing politics here? Is discharge an interinstitutional game, as has been said in the past? Can taxpayers tolerate this game anymore? This is about their money.
Colleagues, I call upon all of you to exercise your responsibility with due care and withhold discharge to the Commission, to Parliament, to the Council, to the European Development Fund and to the Court of Auditors, that does not publish the declaration of financial interests, until all of these institutions give proof of sound financial management.