Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Thursday, 22 November 2012

Court of Auditor's Report

The president of the European Court of Auditors has warned that controls over EU spending are only "partially effective".

Presenting his annual report to MEPs on 22 November 2012, Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira revealed there were errors in allocating about €5bn from the 2011 EU budget.

The report highlighted that most errors arose from "misapplication or misunderstanding" of the EU's complex rules, though there were some suspected cases of fraud.

It also said the failures were often down to the national and local governments responsible for overseeing the distribution of funds, rather than just the EU institutions.

Mr Caldeira said that the areas with the worst error rate were rural development, environment and health, with an error rate of 7.7%.

Danish socialist MEP Søren Bo Søndergård warned that electors would "punish" MEPs at the next European election if error rates did not improve, "and rightly so".

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Auditors audits the accounts of all EU institutions and was founded in 1975.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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