Commission’s spending totally uncontrolled

François Osete, Lazaros S. Lazarou and Danielle Pottier (from left to right). Press conference by Lazaros S  Lazarou, Member of the European Court of Auditors on "Are tools in place to monitor the effectiveness of European Social Fund (ESF) spending on older workers?". (EC Audiovisual Services, 05/03/2013).

François Osete, Lazaros S. Lazarou and Danielle Pottier (from left to right). Press conference by Lazaros S Lazarou, Member of the European Court of Auditors on “Are tools in place to monitor the effectiveness of European Social Fund (ESF) spending on older workers?”. (EC Audiovisual Services, 05/03/2013).

A few weeks ago the European Court of Auditors established that the money spent on EU projects to enhance energy efficiency (€5 billion since 2000) did not achieve targets. More recently, the CoA also found that “The effectiveness of EU funding for municipal waste management (€10.8bn in the period 2000-2006) infrastructures was limited, due to the poor implementation of supporting measures”.

This week, it was the turn of EU spending in a more socially sensitive area, to be audited; the programmes for older workers. The CoA conclusions are, in this case too, at least very disappointing. At the very beginning, the audit report observes that, “the European Court of Auditors has found that neither the Member States nor the Commission are in a position to establish how many older workers have gained new qualifications, or found or kept a job after having benefited from an action funded by the European Social Fund”. The report also notes that  over the programming period 2007–13 ESF spending will amount to over €75bn, representing around 8% of the total EU budget.

The European Court of Auditors is the EU institution that “renders audit services through which it assesses the collection and spending of EU funds”. The CoA communicates the results of its audits in clear, relevant and objective reports. It also provides its opinion on financial management issues.

No targets achieved

In short, over the past few weeks, not one CoA report has found that the EU taxpayers’ money is well spent or achieved targets. Given that the EU power house behind the drafting and the application of all those programmes is the Commission, one could expect at least an explanation. Instead, the Commission keeps announcing pompously more spending ‘initiatives’, while it lets to be understood that it considers its services as being of the utmost competitiveness. But let’s return to the older workers.

In this case, the CoA selected six programmes to sample test the overall efficiency for the total. They were of a value of €222 million and covered four Member States (Germany, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom).

The Press release of the CoA is very enlightening on the issue of effectiveness. It says: “The Commission is approving programmes without requiring the information to check if they are really working and the Member States are not providing it.”, said Lazaros Lazarou, the ECA member responsible for the report. He then added, “Not having reliable, verifiable and timely performance data and assessments of the different actions makes it impossible for the policy makers to draw conclusions for current and future policymaking.”

In short, it is quite impossible to asses if those programmes helped older workers to have gained new qualifications, or found or kept a job after having benefited from an action funded by the ESF. What is probably even more alarming the CoA member Lazarou observes that “…furthermore, the amounts spent on this kind of action are also unknown”. Given that the language used by the auditors is rather diplomatic, the true facts must be much darker than presented in their reports.

No internal controls

Incidentally, those programmes are very widespread all over the European Union and their cost comes to billions. Finding out that it’s not impossible to assess their effectiveness, nor is it feasible to identify their cost, should at least have sounded the alarms in Brussels. Unfortunately,no alarms were set off, nor any investigations over responsibility seemed to have been conducted.

All those facts give the right to an independent observer to conclude, that the there is nothing like internal control over the functioning of the Commission services. Consequently, one can conclude that the EU’s executive arm is not accountable to anybody, nor is there any kind of mechanism seeking responsibilities for ineffectiveness or possible fraudulent action. If this is the case, something has to be done to change it. Otherwise, the proposals of the British Prime Minister to generously cut down the EU budget, will prove totally right.

How come at a time of severe austerity policies applied by all EU member states, the Commission’s spending should remain untouched? And all that, despite the fact that a large part of this spending is proven to be ill managed, without tangible results.  For God’s sake, it is even impossible, to count the cost of some programmes! What else should the Council expect to be reported in order to try to put some order? Mr Herman Van Rompuy has to act immediately.

 

 

 

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

8 steps towards a sustainable economic recovery

Defence: European Commission paves the way for first joint industrial projects under EU budget

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

An EU first: youth Ministers debate youth participation in live broadcast

Commission Vice-President Rehn exaggerates Eurozone’s growth prospects

New rules allow EU consumers to defend their rights collectively

The enemy of the SARS-CoV2 vaccine: vaccine hesitancy

How drones can help rural Africa take flight

Utmost hypocrisy emitted by EU’s energy regulation

Protecting migratory species in a rapidly changing world

Summer 2019 Economic Forecast: Growth clouded by external factors

3 actions for business to prepare for a post-pandemic future

Renovation Wave: doubling the renovation rate to cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty

Draghi rehabs ECB into a tool to support growth and employment; a departure from Teutonic orthodoxy

It’s time to get serious about the causes of pandemics: UN report

ITU Telecom World 2017: exploring smart digital transformation

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

MWC 2016 LIVE: Verizon boasts momentum for IoT platform

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

From ‘dead on the inside’ to ‘truly alive’: Survivor of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda recounts her story as UN marks 25th anniversary

Gender Science: A sneaky healthcare risk factor

Images from space could bolster the global economy – here’s how

Political solution ‘long overdue’ to protect the children of eastern Ukraine

From rescue animals to electric buses, California is introducing bold new rules

Farmers on the frontline in battle against drug-resistant microbes: UN health agency

We want to hear about Europe our citizens are dreaming of, says von der Leyen about the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe

Sudan: ‘Violence must stop’, says UNICEF chief, ‘gravely concerned’ over 19 child deaths since military backlash

Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi during World News Media Congress 2019

Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €127 million to boost EU’s largest ever humanitarian programme

Finland is a world leader in clean energy. Here’s what’s driving its success

Mental health and suicide: when the alarm bells are faced with deaf ears

International Day of the Midwife: 5 things you should know

Can I still send mail in the time of coronavirus?

Sudan: European Union provides €30 million in humanitarian assistance

Antitrust: Commission fines car manufacturers €875 million for restricting competition in emission cleaning for new diesel passenger cars

A Continental Political Party

“A sustainable economy, low-carbon, resource-efficient, resilient and more competitive on the global stage”, EU Commissioner Vella in a Sting Exclusive

Continuing incarceration of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, ‘reprehensible’: UN experts

Press remarks by Vice-President Jourová on the Recommendation on the safety of journalists and other media professionals

Niger population’s suffering ‘increasing with each passing month’: UN Refugee Agency

How Egypt’s economy can continue to thrive during a global pandemic

‘Tenacious’ Kyrgyz lawyer and statelessness champion, wins prestigious UNHCR prize

New UN report launched to help ratchet up action to combat climate crisis

Three steps we must take to secure the future of our forests

Tributes for ‘role model’ former UN refugee agency chief, Sadako Ogata

COVID-19 a year later: What have we learned?

B-I-R-D: 4 digital technologies that can help supply chains take flight

China confirms anti-state-subsidy investigation on EU wine imports

EU Copyright Directive: Google News threatens to leave Europe while media startups increasingly worry

Climate change and health: creating global awareness and using earth resources wisely

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

Central Africa: Security Council concerned by ‘grave security situation’, calls for better agency cooperation

“They are trying to make improvements, but of course they are quite slow for my generation”, Vice President of JADE Victor Soto on another Sting Exclusive

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

Meet the robot fighting back against coral reef destruction

EU-Singapore trade agreement enters into force

EU migration crisis again accentuates lack of unity and solidarity among member states

How climate change exacerbates the refugee crisis – and what can be done about it

Ending HIV: The contribution of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

This project wants to bring broadband – and hope – to rural India

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: