Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Court of Auditors annual report

The former Chief Accountant of the European Commission has criticised the implementation of the 2008 budget during a debate on the report by the EU's Court of Auditors.

Marta Andreassen, now a UKIP MEP, said the report was so bad that if it was an audit for the accounts of a private company, the board of directors would be fired, and the company would be wound up.

Every year the Court of Auditors produces a report on the implementation of the previous year's EU budget.

In its report on the 2008 budget, the court once again did not give a positive opinion on how the money from the 2008 budget has been spent - it is now the 15th time in a row that a negative opinion has been received.

The auditors said that the overall situation is improving, but that a number of spending areas were "materially affected by errors".

Spending areas like the cohesion funds, which provide support for poorer parts of the EU, came in for particular criticism, with accusations that around €2.7bn were paid out in error.

The European Court of Auditors was established in 1975, and audits the accounts of EU institutions.

The President of the court, Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira said he was neither optimistic not pessimistic about future prospects for the EU's accounts, and merely "realistic".

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