Time and again, we have warned that nothing you ever read in the newspapers can be relied upon until it has been checked against the original source. We need to heed our own warnings.
Relying mainly on The Daily Telegraph, but cross-checked against this, last night we recorded that the European Court of Auditors had published its annual report on the EU's £110 billion budget and, "while noting some improvements in the management of funds, refused to sign off the accounts for the 15th year running."
But – prompted by a reader – we see from the Auditors' official web site that the Court: "is issuing an unqualified (clean) opinion on the reliability of the 2008 EU accounts." It goes on:
The Court concludes that the 2008 annual accounts of the European Communities present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the European Communities and the results of their operations and cash flows. In terms of the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying the accounts, the overall results for 2008 reflect the improvements in the management of the budget in recent years.Unless we have missed something, there seems to be a slight discrepancy in the media accounts, compared with what the Court of Auditors is actually saying. Have we missed something?