Thursday, May 06, 2004

EU fraud doubles in a year

Sources: Scotsman and others

The National Audit Office (NAO) have reported on a doubling of EU fraud, bringing it up to £700m last year. But what is especially interesting, apart from the intrinsic merits of the issue, is the way this has been treated by the media.

While the Telegraph gives it a mere mention in its “News Bulletin” and the Times mentions it not at all, the Scotsman gives it full frontal coverage. This tends to confirm something which is increasingly apparent, that coverage of EU affairs in the Scottish papers – and especially the Scotsman - is much better than it is in England.

In its “Highlights”, the Scotsman points out that the NAO criticises failure of the EU to manage its funds; that EU auditors refuse to sign off accounts due to errors in expenditure areas; fraud includes expense claims, customs duty avoidance and claims for work; and claims that the EU fails to account for 134 million to the Palestinian authority.

It then quotes Sir John Bourne, head of the NAO, saying "I endorse the court’s (of Auditors) view that this situation is unlikely to improve until the commission has completed the reform of its accounting policies and IT systems.” So much for Kinnock and his reforms.

For the full report in the Scotsman, click here.

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