Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spin and double-speak

Yes it did, and no it didn't. The Court of Auditors gave clean opinions on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions for "Revenue", commitments for all policy groups and payments for the policy groups "Education and Citizenship" and "Administrative and other expenditure".

Qualified opinions were given for two policy groups. The Court concluded that payments for "Agriculture and natural resources", except for Rural Development, and for "Economic and financial affairs", except for expenditure in this policy group concerning the Sixth Framework Programme for research and technological development, were, in all material respects, legal and regular.

The Court then gave adverse opinions on the legality and regularity aspects for the policy groups "Cohesion", "Research, energy and transport", as well as "External aid, development and enlargement". Payments in these policy groups are materially affected by errors, although at different levels.

In other words, the Court signed off bits of the accounts, but not other bits ... the bits that just happened to cover the larger part of the expenditure. The press release is rather like saying that the "car worked perfectly", except for the engine, the tyres, brakes, suspension ...

I guess the media can be forgiven ... or not – depends how charitable you feel.