Wed 26 Jan 2011
Summary: It has long been clear that the EU’s dealings with trusted taxpayer money has been more than questionable. Now a Dutch member, Maarten Engwirda, resigns after 15 years of service to the EU Court of Auditors (ECA) - and comes up with scathing criticism of the EU fiscal management: Criticism was watered down or forbidden. The ECA has tampered with the accounts for many years. The former EU Commissioner for measures against fraud, Siim Kallas, who was previously a longstanding member of the Soviet Communist Party, put tremendous pressure on the auditors to have them condone irregularities!
And the court agrees: 90% of EU expenditure paid from the budget are irregular expenses that are not accounted for - such as illegal awards of contracts worth a total of 4 billion euros.
The former chief accountant of the European Commission, Marta Andreasen, was sacked for refusing to approve the accounts with items that were not accounted for! She agrees with Engwirda and says “The EU is talking about fairness, but it is synonymous with financial corruption and waste. As a political entity, the EU stinks to heaven. I witnessed the arm-twisting of the auditors each time they attempted to reveal the failures in the EU accounting and control systems. They came under huge pressure to keep the accountancy fraud hushed up.”
Counter Balance, a group of NGOs, have examined € 1.1 (£ 932m) which was provided in annual support from the taxpayer-funded European Investment Bank for Africa and the Caribbean. It claims that the money disappeared in African banks, a Luxembourg tax haven, and a Nigerian bank, the CEO of which was under investigation for fraud. EU taxpayers underwrite the grants.
The EU throws 66 million euros a year out on environmental NGOs, whose mission it is to lobby the EU to confirm through the “voice of the people” the Eurocrats´ need to encourage completely unnecessary climate change combating (CO2), with huge increases in our energy prices in consequence.
EMA - EU’s “Medicial Agency” – is packed with “patient representatives” who simply are people paid by the big pharma - so that they are rather promoting the interests of pharmaceutical corporations than patients’ interests (swine flu vaccinations 2010).
One can wonder that “our” so called “politicians” are not protesting. The reason might become clearer by the fact that the farm-owning-MPs of the governing Danish Liberal Party are the ones who receive the largest sums of agricultural subsidies. Eurocrats just granted themselves a pay rise of 3.7 % by means of the eurocrats of the EU Court of Justice – while they are driving Europeans into poverty through their austerity measures.
The EU Commission has many former Communists as commissioners, which is not surprising,since EU Commission President Barroso is an old Maoist terrorist! Former Russian dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who was a witness for Boris Jeltsyn and had great insight into secret Soviet documents, says the EU is in many respects the USSR once again - hence the name EUSSR! Nor is that surprising, since one of the EU´ originators was the Communist environmental Rockefeller Club of Rome, where Barroso’s predecessor, Jacques Delors, is an honorary member - just as he is a member of the World Political Forum founded by the Arch Communist and author of environmental idolatry, Mikhail Gorbachev.
The fact that the EU is dealing in an undemocratic, corrupt and incompetent manner with our tax money has long been known. It even went so far that the EU sacked an honest Danish woman, Marta Andreasen, the chief accountant of the European Commission for denying to approve the account because of of unresolved items, i.e. illegally wasted expenditure. In fact, the EU Court of Auditors has existed for 16 years and has never approved an EU budget, because of unexplained expenditures. Here is a humorous description of this “feast of the beast“. Not only the Commission - but also the EU Parliament reveal very low morals: In 2008, criminal abuse by Euro-MPs in grants of money for MEP staff secretaries of EUR 100 million per year was revealed. Morals do not appear to have improved since then:
EUObserver 11 Jan. 2011: A Dutch member of the European Union’s Court of Auditors - its budgetary oversight office - has blasted his colleagues and the European Commission for a “culture of cover up” and a tradition of watering down reports.
Maarten Engwirda (left), representing the Netherlands in the Luxembourg-based bureau, retired in January after 15 years with the court and finally felt free to speak his mind in an interview with Dutch centre-left daily De Volkskrant.
“There was a practice of watering down if not completely removing criticism,” Mr Engwirda told the paper. “I wanted to write a book, I was so sick of it all.”
In particular, Mr Engwirda, a former politician with and leader of the the social liberal D66 party, which is staunchly pro-EU and federalist, accuses his French and Italian colleagues, amongst others of this type of activity.
But he also speaks of “heavy pressure” from then anti-fraud commissioner Siim Kallas in 2005 for the court to relax its standards.
According to the interview, this pattern of obstruction continued until after 2005. Only after Mr Engwirda had convinced his colleagues that their work be reviewed by national audit offices did things begin to change. Since 2008, the Dutchman says that this sort of activity has stopped.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide 11 Jan. 2011: The European Court of Auditors systematically tampered with the figures in its annual fiscal report. Mr Engwirda says several countries, including France and Italy, often resorted to fraud and intimidation in the national interest. The European Commission seemingly distanced itself from introducing a stricter monitoring system. Lithuanian European Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud and Audit Algirdas Semeta has rejected the Dutchman’s criticism. He says the European Commission has never attempted to influence members of the Court of Auditors.
MSN News 11 Jan. 2011: UKIP MEP, Marta Andreasen (right) , a former Chief Accountant of the European Commission, said: “The EU speaks of probity but it is a byword for financial corruption and waste. As a political entity, the EU stinks to high heaven.
All that surprises me about the revelations of the former member of the Court of Auditors, Mr. Engwirda is that they did not come sooner. I presume that his conscience got to him and he had to resign on the first of the month in order to speak the truth about the corruption and day-to-day fraud that goes on in EU institutions.
When I was Chief Accountant of the European Commission I experienced huge pressure to conceal the truth about EU expenditure and not voice any criticism. I can back up what Mr Engwirda said as I witnessed the arm-twisting of the auditors each time they attempted to reveal the failures in the EU accounting and control systems. They came under huge pressure to keep the accountancy fraud hushed up. In my opinion, the European Court of Auditors is not an independent body and cannot, therefore, be relied upon. The structural arrangement of the EU has allowed massive irregularities and waste in EU funding and I have absolutely no hope that this situation will ever change until Britain withdraws from the EU.”
The Telegraph 9 Jan. 2011: More than nine tenths of the EU’s budget last year, a spending that totalled £94 billion, was “materially affected” by irregularities that included the improper award of contracts worth over £4 billion, Europe’s Court of Auditors has found.
The findings come amid a heated debate over the size of the EU budget for next year and demands from the European Commission and Parliament to defy national austerity programmes by increasing Brussels spending by six per cent (2.9% became the compromise) despite 16 years of critical reports by auditors. ”Error rates remain high,” said Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira, president of the Court of Auditors, noting a slight improvement between 2008 and 2009. “Errors come mainly from 1. incorrect claims for payment and public procurement errors.” The EU auditors also warned the Commission that information on 2. the return of money paid irregularly is not accounted for. Auditors continued to find 3. irregular payments, in 214 audited transactions of agriculture and rural development subsidies. Audits of EU funded projects found “quantifiable errors” affecting £9.5 billion of spending, with “non-respect of public procurement rules” calling into question contracts worth £4 billion.
The EU’s 4. agriculture spending consumes the bulk of the budget, worth £48.5 billion in 2009 and auditors found a growing rate of error, mainly linked people claiming payments for “ineligible” land or, in one Italian case, where “the same sheep were counted for two different farmers”. The auditors singled out the 5. lack of checks, as legally required, in Greece to visually check whether subsidised land was actually a permanent pasture when “photos clearly show a significant density of trees and rocks”. Court officials have growing concerns, particularly affecting Britain, that farm subsidies are being paid to companies, such as golf clubs, property developers or speculators, who engage in no farming activity except for “maintaining land in good condition” under rules that are badly policed. “People can get high-value subsidies by renting low-value land. We think this problem is bigger than it seems,” said an auditor.
6. Nine out of 10 audited road building projects across the EU were identified as proceeding with “unlawful use of award criteria” despite the breach of rules being detected before contracts were paid.
Marta Andreasen, a Ukip MEP and member of the parliament’s budgetary control committee, linked the report to ongoing negotiations over an increased EU budget for 2011. “The European Commission and the European Parliament are screaming for a 6 per cent increase in the EU budget. Why do they want more money to waste?,” she asked. Mats Persson, the director of the Open Europe pressure group: said: “Until member states and the European Commission resolve the inherent flaws in the EU’s spending there should be no talk whatsoever of budget increases.”
Siim Kallas (right) is the European Commission’s vice-president, and former member of the Soviet Communist party who was responsible for anti-fraud measures from 2004 to 2010 and who is now the EU transport chief. Mr Kallas also clashed with the Court of Auditors over its use of strict accounting standards which meant that the EU’s annual accounts have embarrassingly never been given a clean bill of health.
The Guardian 25 Nov. 2010: Hundreds of millions of pounds of European Union aid to help the poor in Africa is being handed over without public scrutiny to banks and private equity companies and funnelled into tax havens, a new report claims.
Counter Balance, a group of non-government organisations, has investigated the €1.1bn (£932m) of annual aid from the taxpayer-funded European Investment Bank to Africa and the Caribbean. It alleges that the cash disappeared into African banks, a Luxembourg tax haven and a Nigerian bank whose managing director was under investigation for fraud.
The EIB is able to borrow billions on the markets to fund the aid because it has a triple AAA credit rating. This means Britain and other leading EU economies are underwriting its loans.
The report condemns the EIB for lack of checks and failure to make public what is happening to the cash. “The bank provides next to no information on where this money ends up.”
Jane Fae Ozimek, Government, 3rd December 2010: Government is handing over far too much of our hard-earned dosh to environmental campaigners, who then use the money to further distort government policy in favour of the interests and ideological preoccupations of narrow political elites.
That is the conclusion of a report – Taxpayer Funded Environmentalism (pdf) - published this week by the Taxpayers’ Alliance. The report suggests a total of £10.1m was given in 2009-10 to environmental groups whose principal aim was lobbying for further change. The Alliance of Taxpayers cite the Climate Change Act 2008, which was heavily lobbied for by environmental groups and which government expects to cost between £324bn and £404bn. A great deal of the lobbying that goes on in the UK today would not go on if the government did not pay for it. “Some of these groups are getting hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayers’ money each year. They are campaigning for more green taxes and regulation that could push up energy bills – both of which will hit ordinary families.”
The sums are dwarfed by the €66 million the EU pays out to green groups to lobby itself. An NGO can have 70 per cent of its income paid for by the EU. Nine out of 10 Green NGOs take the cash, and Friends of Europe increased its funding by 325 per cent over a decade, thanks to European taxpayers. As for the significance of the NGOs for the EU – se here and here.
EUObserver 24 nov. 2010: Europe’s top court has ruled against a member state decision to limit an EU salary increase due to the economic downturn. National capitals voted in December 2009 to halve a planned 3.7 percent annual increase in salaries for EU officials, but on 24 November the European Court of Justice ruled the move to be illegal. The Judges are profiting from their own decision!
23.04.2010 EUOBSERVER- European patients’ groups, set up to represent the interests of the subjects of medical procedures in their dealings with healthcare systems, insurance firms and drug companies are in many cases bankrolled by pharmaceutical firms, according to a new report. Such representatives are nominated by the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Complicating the situation, many such groups working with and on the board of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) - the very EU agency charged with evaluation of medicines in the bloc. Transparency watchdogs say the EMA is not doing enough to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest. A fresh report from transparency watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory accuses the EMA of mis-administrating conflict of interest guidelines allowing individuals and groups to falsely say that they are not sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
The document makes four accusations of conflict of interest non-disclosure.
1. The report notes that the representative of the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA), a patient group that also sits on the EMA’s management board, failed to disclose the corporate funding of EFNA on her EMA conflict of interest statement even though 91 percent of the group’s total income stems from corporate sponsors, including GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Solvay. 2. A second group that also maintains a representative on the EMA board, the European Patients Forum (EPF), receives hundreds of thousands of euros every year from industry, including Astrazeneca, Novartis and Pfizer. 3. Additionally the vice-chair of the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP), a working group of the the EMA, represents Eurordis, the rare diseases patients’ umbrella organisation, which receives 23 percent of its income from pharmaceutical companies. But the vice-chair also does not declare this interest in the mandatory annual disclosure statement. 4. Lastly, the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) representative on the EMA’s Paediatric Committee (PDCO) also made no disclosures despite receiving more than 80 percent of its funding from corporate sponsors such as Pfizer and Roche.
Moreover, says the report, only six of 22 the patient groups - who engage in lobbying of European institutions - that work under with the EMA have taken it upon themselves to register with the European Commission’s lobby register. “In fact, more than half of the patient groups in EMA committees are sponsored by industry,” the report’s author, Jens Clausen, told EUobserver. “This widespread practice of accepting funding from business can have serious implications. There is a fundamental risk that the patient group does not actually represent patient interests but instead puts forward the views of industry.” Spokesman Martin Harvey said that in the absence of money from big pharma, the only way to completely avoid conflict of interest was to have European patient groups publicly funded.”Although then you have the situation of the EU paying patient groups to lobby itself.”
The farm-owning MPs of the governing Danish Liberal Party, Venstre, receive the biggest agricultural supports.
Nothing is new as for EU corruption and incompetence. But to me it is surprising that the Court of Auditors find more than 90% of the EU expenditures to be “materially affected by irregularities”.
That a former member of the Soviet Communist Party, Siim Kallas, could become an EU commissioner may not be surprising, considering that the EU Commission President, José Barroso, is a former Maoist terorist – and he seems to have composed his EU Commission with an incredibly large amount of Communists! This certainly underpins the term EUSSR, introduced by former Soviet dissident with insight in Soviet secret documents, Vladimir Bukowsky.
So the question is: Are the irregularitie just personal corruption or is the money wasted for ideological purposes, i.e. for building the Communist world state described by Rockefeller´s Club of Rome, a driving force behind the self-declared Illuminist EU (explanatory statement)? The brain behind the Euromediterranean Project was Club of Rome Honorary member, former EU Commission President, Jacques Delors – who is also a member of Communist Mikhail Gorbachev´ s World Political Forum!
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