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Tag ‘EU budget’

The EU is investing billions in tackling cancer – not denying treatment

Thursday, June 9th, 2016
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Rating: 4.2/5 (39 votes cast)

Summary

A number of media articles have claimed that “EU red tape” is denying cancer patients access to new treatments.

This is not the case.

Various EU initiatives, backed by billions of euros from the EU budget, encourage Europe’s top scientists, businesses large and small and leading medical professionals to get new drugs to patients as rapidly and safely as possible.

And Europe-wide authorisation by the European Medicines Agency means more people get access to more medicines more quickly than they could if each country authorised them separately.

Details

Delivering new drugs to patients is a multi-stage process.

First, they need to be developed from scratch.

The European Commission has invested about €2.1 billion in cancer research projects since 2007. Some outstanding examples are described in simple terms here. The pace is likely to increase under the 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 programme, which is about 35% larger than its 2007-13 predecessor known as FP7.

Read the full entry

“Bailouts”,EU budget ceilings and “backlogs” clarified

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
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Rating: 4.0/5 (41 votes cast)

The UK will not, whatever the circumstances, be called upon by the EU to supply emergency (“bail out”) funding to Eurozone countries. This is clear in the agreement reached between David Cameron and all the other EU leaders in February, which has the status of international law.*

Neither can the EU budget be increased without the UK’s consent beyond the ceilings Member States, including the UK, agreed unanimously for the 2014-2020 period. Any increase in those ceilings requires according to the EU Treaties a unanimous vote – in other words the UK has a veto which could only be altered by a change in the Treaties, something the UK could also veto.

Finally, reports of a £19.4 billion “black hole” in the EU budget are mistaken. There was a backlog in payments – partly the result of technical issues arising in the transition from one seven-year budget period (2007-13) to the next (2014-20) – but much of it was already eliminated in 2015 and it is expected to be down to EUR 2bn by the end of this year, at zero additional cost to Member States beyond their scheduled budget contributions.

This amounts to a return to normal, given that in practice the backlog represents the claims for payment that come in towards the end of one financial year but are paid in the next financial year. As all claims need to be properly checked and this takes time, it is inevitable that some claims will fall into this category.

Background

The EU budget is just under €150 bn per year for the period 2014-2020. This represents about 1 % of the annual wealth produced in the EU and 2% of total public expenditure across Europe, the other 98% of which is spent by national, regional and local governments.

Read the full entry

The EU budget and UK contributions – the facts, 2013

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
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Rating: 3.4/5 (29 votes cast)

Once again we are seeing big bold headlines claiming massive increase in the UK’s contribution to the EU budget in 2013. We provide figures and explanations below, but first a reminder of some general points that put these figures in context:
Traditionally, the UK net contributions to the EU budget are less than 1% of UK’s public spending.
While all bigger and richer member states are net contributors, as a contribution per capita the UK is behind countries like Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands or Austria, Finland and Belgium.
Finally, the estimated benefits of EU membership for the UK economy vastly exceed the UK’s gross budget contribution, let alone its net one. You don’t have to take our word for it – the CBI estimates the direct net economic benefits alone at between £62bn and £78bn every year http://www.cbi.org.uk/campaigns/our-global-future/factsheets/factsheet-2-benefits-of-eu-membership-outweigh-costs/

 

Back to 2013 – the most up-to-date figures available. The best estimate (there are several variations depending on the exact basis for calculation) of the UK net contribution is GBP 6.7 billion (Euro 8.6 billion). This figure – called Operating Budgetary Balance in this interactive table which provides data per year and per member state – is the gross sum the UK puts into the EU budget minus the money that flows back to the UK, whether via government bodies or directly to beneficiaries.

 

However, taking this indicator for one single year in isolation can also be misleading, because the EU budget works in seven-year cycles with payments traditionally accumulating towards the end of a cycle when programmes and projects come to fruition (2013 was the last year of such a cycle). So a better indication is the average for the 2007-2013 period – GBP 3.8 billion (Euro 4.9 billion) for the UK.

 

This latest round of media excitement follows the release of figures by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). These ONS figures while accurate do not reflect the full picture, partly because we understand they usually take into account only payments from the EU budget to the UK central and local government sectors. For example, agriculture payments pass through DEFRA so those are counted, as is Cohesion funding that passes through DCLG. But the UK figures usually exclude for example payments from the EU research and innovation programme (traditionally, the UK ranks among the top two beneficiaries of this funding) and from the digital agenda programme to UK universities and SMEs, payments into public private partnerships like the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative or Green Cars scheme or payments from the EU education and training budget to schools and students.
Which all comes to show that – tempting as they are in their simplicity – figures are deceptive unless contextualised.

Ten things Europe has done for the UK – and others – since the last European Parliament elections in 2009

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
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Rating: 4.3/5 (13 votes cast)

With the European Parliament elections coming up this week, here are some highlights of the work the EU has done over the last five years. The results of the elections on 22 May will be crucial in deciding how all this will be pursued over the next five years.

Since 2009, Europe has, among other things:

1/ Taken tough measures to regulate the financial sector properly
2/ Given consumers a better deal
3/ Massively boosted research, innovation and science
4/ Cut red tape
5/ Taken big steps to tackle climate change and make the EU more energy efficient and independent
6/ Acted to protect the environment
7/ Given young people more chances to benefit directly from EU funds
8/ Protected animal welfare
9/ Modernised the EU budget and focused it on growth and jobs
10/ Reformed agriculture and fisheries policies

This is not an exhaustive list. Foreign affairs issues and trade and development issues, for example, are not included here.

We focus on things that are important to the British public and to British business and pick out mostly areas where the European Parliament, as well as the European Commission, has played a key role.

Fundamentally, all of these policies aim to create sustainable growth and jobs.

More information on all of the areas mentioned can be found via the onward links below.

 

1/Taken tough measures to regulate the financial sector properly

One of the main reasons for the crisis which began in 2007 and from which most of the EU is only now beginning to emerge was lax regulation of banking and financial services.

The EU has addressed this comprehensively with a far-reaching programme of reform, with over 40 new EU laws adopted, to encourage long-term investment and sensible lending and to prevent reckless risk-taking and future crises.

Other jurisdictions, particularly the United States, have also implemented radical reforms, following G20 commitments which the EU took a lead role in negotiating.

The UK has always been a strong supporter of the single market in financial services and has played a leading role in negotiating the reforms, based on proposals by the Commission and in agreement with the European Parliament, where the relevant committee has been chaired by a British MEP.

Last week, the Commission issued an overview of the progress made and of the macro-economic benefits expected from the measures taken: for example, reforms in the banking sector alone are estimated to boost EU GDP by about 0.6-1.1% per year (or about €75-140 billion per year, based on 2013 EU GDP).

 

2/Given consumers a better deal

The EU has forced further drastic cuts to cross-border mobile telephone and data (roaming) charges. Overall, the EU has slashed roaming costs by 50% for calls and 93% for data

Air passenger rights have been strengthened so that cancellations and endless delays without compensation are becoming a thing of the past. What is more, similar rights have been extended to other forms of transport.

Food safety measures have been reinforced, partly in response to the horsemeat scandal.

Electronic appliances are becoming greener and cheaper to run thanks to tough new eco-design standards and clearer labelling.

Consumer rights, notably for purchases made across borders, are also now stronger than five years ago. The Commission is currently running a campaign to inform businesses and consumers about their rights and obligations.

What is more, thanks to new EU wide provisions for Alternative Dispute Resolution, consumers will soon be able to solve any dispute with EU-based traders – including online traders – without going to court.

 

3/Massively boosted European research, innovation and science

Through stiff Europe-wide competition, EU research and innovation funding drives standards higher than national funding schemes alone ever could.

Most of the EU budget has been cut. But funding for research and innovation will go up by nearly 40% to EUR 80 billion under the new Horizon 2020 programme. Horizon 2020 has a clear focus on global challenges like cancer, climate change and the security of energy and food supplies.

There will be big boosts for the European Research Council, which funds cutting edge work by Europe’s leading established and up and coming researchers and for the European Institute of Technology and Innovation, which focuses on turning new ideas into the hi-tech products of tomorrow.

UK researchers, universities and businesses got about EUR 8 bn/£6.6 bn from the 2007-13 programme – that is set to increase to about EUR 12 bn/£10 bn under Horizon 2020, if the UK maintains the same level of performance.

Among other steps forward in the fields of science and innovation have been the adoption – at last – of a European patent that will boost incentives to innovate and save business billions.

Also noteworthy is the launch of the first satellites under the Galileo programme for global satellite navigation and the Copernicus European system for monitoring the Earth, which will help prevent and respond to natural disasters .

 

4/Cut red tape

The natural tendency of much EU regulation is to reduce red tape by replacing the need for businesses to comply with 28 different sets of regulation to operate EU-wide with the requirement to comply with just one set of rules

But the burden of regulation – whether EU or national – on businesses and citizens needs to be as light as is consistent with protecting the public interest.

So over the last five years, both the European Commission and the European Parliament have – often in cooperation with the UK government among others – made cutting red tape a top priority.

In its review of cuts to EU red tape in late 2013, the Commission identified a decrease of 26% of administrative burden for businesses between 2008 and 2012, equivalent to savings of about EUR 32bn/£26 bn per year.

Some examples of the steps taken are listed here. They include among many other things reform of public procurement, exempting micro-enterprises from much EU law, VAT and customs reforms and changes making it easier for people to get their professional qualifications recognised in other Member States

The EU has also introduced a new financial regulation making it much easier to apply for EU funds and manage them if awarded.

 

5/Taken big steps to tackle climate change and make the EU more energy efficient and independent

EU energy policy over the last five years has aimed to boost energy efficiency, increase use of renewable energy (thus also cutting dependence on imported fossil fuels from Russia and the Middle East) , cut emissions and build a true single market in energy that will help ensure security of supply and keep energy costs lower than they otherwise would be.

The European Commission put forward in December 2013 a new energy and climate change package with targets for 2030, including 40% cut in emissions compared to 1990 and getting the share of renewable energy in the EU energy mix up to 27%.

The new European Parliament will by early next year consider the Commission’s review of the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive, which will be key to achieving both the 2030 targets and the existing targets for 2020.

 

6/Acted to protect the environment

The EU is tackling diesel and other air pollution which costs 29 000 lives per year in the UK alone, according to government data.

The number of zones where limits on health-damaging particles are being exceeded dropped by about 25% between 2008 and 2012. But air pollution remains far too high in many places. The Commission is taking legal action against the UK and other Member States to ensure compliance with rules they and the European Parliament agreed several years ago.

Largely as a result of EU action, the proportion of rubbish being recycled or composted across the EU has doubled from 21% in 2001 to 42% in 2012. Less is therefore going to landfill sites which can pollute the water table and cause other environmental problems. But more work on this is necessary if targets for each Member State to reach 50% by 2020 are to be reached.

The EU has adopted a far-reaching Environmental Action Programme for 2014-2020. It aims to protect nature and strengthen ecological resilience, boost resource-efficient, low-carbon growth, and reduce threats to human health and wellbeing. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States will all have a key role in delivering it and updating it.

 

7/Given young people more chances to benefit directly from EU funds

The new Erasmus+ programme brings together and simplifies a series of earlier schemes, introduces new strands and greatly expands opportunities not only for students to study in EU countries other than their own, but also for teachers, school pupils, apprentices, volunteers, young entrepreneurs and others to benefit from training, exchanging best practice and networking across the EU.

The seven year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion, a 40% increase compared to current spending levels. Four million people are expected to take part.

Along with research and innovation, this is one of the very few areas to see an increase in EU budget for 2014-2020.

 

8/Protected animal welfare

Among the EU-level progress made over the last five years to improve animal welfare has been the implementation – though further efforts are still necessary in some Member States -of bans on cruel treatment of laying hens and of pigs and an end to sales in the EU of cosmetics tested on animals.

The Commission has also put forward an animal welfare strategy which will cover the beginning of the next mandate and asks the European Parliament and Member States to take further decisions.

 

9/Modernised the EU budget and focused it on growth and jobs

The EU budget amounts to only about 1% of GDP and about 2% of public spending in the EU. But it is economically, politically and strategically important for Europe’s future.

So there were many months of tough discussions between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States over the EU budgetary framework for 2014-2020.

These resulted in an overall cut to the budget compared to the previous seven years.

Less widely covered in the media was the major reform to the composition of the budget to focus it much more clearly on creating growth and jobs –all the EU institutions agreed on the need for that, even if the detail took a lot of hammering out! The result sees funding boosts for infrastructure projects, research and innovation and education (see above), while the share spent on agriculture (see below) will go down.

 

10/Reformed agriculture and fisheries policies

For 2014-2020, the EU has radically redesigned both the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The CAP is now much more efficient, greener and more equitable. Over the next seven years, the new CAP will invest almost EUR 25 billion in the UK farming sector and in rural areas. The budget for direct payments to farmers in the UK will remain stable despite a reduction of 3.2% at EU level. 30% of direct payments will be linked to environmentally-friendly farming practices.

Millions of fish will no longer be thrown back dead in to the sea thanks to the changes to the CFP.

The UK played a key role in these agriculture and fisheries reforms, alongside the Commission and Parliament

For a more complete picture of progress over the last five years, please see this recent round up by the European Commission.

European auditors point to errors but sign off EU’s accounts – some UK media decline to listen to what the auditors say

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
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Rating: 4.4/5 (30 votes cast)

UK media – for example the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Times – yet again reported that the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has not signed off the EU accounts. Some media -this time including the Daily Telegraph – claim that UK taxpayers will be liable to pay back GBP 800 million. Both statements are simply false.

The Court did in fact sign off as accurate the EU’s accounts for 2012 – as it has done each year since 2007. It stated this clearly in its press release http://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/AR_2012.aspx.

The ECA (not the European Commission) was so concerned by the flagrant inaccuracy of so many reports that it tweeted Mail online and other media in UK and beyond to request changes @EUAuditorsECA

The ECA annual report tracks the amount of errors that affect financial transactions under the EU budget against a stringent set of rules and procedures.

Many media neglect to emphasise that – while the Court makes clear the Commission also has more work to do – most of the errors take place at national level, including frequently in the UK, and concern decentralised programmes like agriculture and regional funding rather than money managed centrally in Brussels. Member States are responsible for managing 80% of EU funds.

They fail to mention that where errors have serious budgetary effects, the Commission succeeds in clawing most of the money back so it can then be used for other projects: about £3.8 billion/EUR 4.4 billion in 2012.

So the fact that the error rate for 2012 is 4.8% (compared to 3.9% for 2011) does not mean – as the newspapers claim, despite having the situation fully explained to them – that the extrapolated amount of money from the EU annual budget total is written off.

Nor does this mean that the UK (or any other member state) will have to pay back any amount into a bank account in Brussels.

Neither does the fact that a project has not fully adhered to the procedures as it should have, always signify that the money is wasted or that the main project objectives were not achieved.

For example, if member state authorities spending EU money on a new bridge did not properly follow public procurement rules – that is not acceptable. But it does not mean that the bridge is not built or the money is wasted.

These Court of Auditors reports and the increase in the error rate this year, after a long period of improvement, are serious matter, something which the Commission fully recognises. It has in the past seven years endeavoured to reduce the number of errors by introducing modern accounting practices, tighter rules on EU spending, stricter supervision, and stronger control measures.

Under the next seven-year budget 2014-2020 the EU will implement further reforms http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-947_en.htm to simplify the system and introduce even more stringent rules to encourage all Member States – including the UK – to take more care about the way they spend EU funds.

For example, the Commission has had to claw back from UK nearly EUR 300 million in corrections to UK administered EU agriculture spending over the last three years. There have also been significant errors in regional policy –payments to UK programmes have had to be interrupted several times.

As a reader put it on one of the newspapers’ blog threads – this is not the EU wasting member states’ money, but member states misspending European money.

That is certainly a very simplistic summary.

But it is perhaps less simplistic than much of the media reporting of the ECA report which has yet again seen newspapers throwing incorrect figures around to kindle public outrage.

UK and financing of EU budget – looking beyond ONS figures

Friday, August 2nd, 2013
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Rating: 3.7/5 (9 votes cast)

Once again, outlandish headlines have appeared on how much the UK government contributes to the EU budget sparked by the publication of the UK’s balance of payments figures by the Office of National Statistics.

With such claims as “We bankroll EU to tune of £20bn” (Daily Mail), whilst Express reports “Another 1.4bn reasons for us to leave the EU” – (£1.4bn being the alleged rise in the UK’s net contribution in the twelve months ending 2012), readers could be forgiven for thinking the UK simply pours this money down the drain and gets nothing in return.

Of course, there’s more to this story than a quick glance of the ONS figures might suggest.

The figures bandied about do not provide a complete picture of all the EU funding that comes back to the UK.

The ONS figures usually take account of payments only from the EU budget to the UK central and local government sector. For instance, payments to farmers pass through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whilst payments under cohesion funding pass through the Department for Communities and Local Government, so both of those are included.

However, they don’t count payments from the EU budget which go directly to British SMEs, experts, universities, NGOs (eg via EU research and innovation and digital agenda budgets) and payments into public private partnerships (such as the EU innovative medicines initiative or green cars schemes) or payments from the EU education and training budget to schools.

In fact, between 2007-2013 the UK will have received €7.5 billion of EU funding for vital science research (eg £23 million towards the setting up of the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester will create hundreds of jobs in the North West and attract top researchers to the UK).

And then there are the less easy to calculate benefits which impact the pockets of every Brit, such as lower mobile charges and cheaper cars, or British companies who have benefitted significantly from building large infrastructure in the EU.

But don’t just take our word for it.

The UK government estimates the Single Market brings in between £30 billion and £90 billion a year into the UK economy.

A study published by the Department for Business and Innovation found:

– around 3.5 million jobs in the UK are linked to the export of goods and services to the EU.

– the Single Market may be responsible for income gains in the UK between 2% and 6%, that is between £1100 and £3300 a year per British household.

The only authoritative source for EU budget figures is the EU Financial Report published by European Commission annually.  Last year it revealed the UK’s net contribution for 2011 was €7.255 billion/£6 billion, representing 0.87% of UK public spending (£689 billion) in 2011 and making the UK only the sixth largest net contributor per capita.

The 2012 Financial Report will be issued in September 2013.

The UK and the EU budget – the FACTS

Monday, November 12th, 2012
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Rating: 4.6/5 (16 votes cast)

(updated: 18th December 2012)

The 22-23 November EU summit was unable to reach a final agreement on the seven-year budget framework for 2014-2020, so negotiations will continue at a summit in early 2013.

The November talks failed despite the President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy tabling and then amending proposals which further cut the European Commission’s proposals (detailed below) and which represented a clear real terms cut in the 2014-2020 budget ceilings compared to those which applied in 2007-2013.

The European Commission’s original proposals for EU budget ceilings for the period 2014-2020 – known as the “Multi-annual financial framework” or MFF

The figures, at 2011 prices



Salient facts

– the total proposed EU budget ceilings  – and they are ceilings, in practice less is always spent – for 27 countries for 2014-2020 represents around 1% of EU GDP, or about a quarter of the UK national budget for just one country;

– over the last decade or so, the EU budget has risen much slower than Member States’ national spending and has decreased from 1.2% of GDP to about 1%;

– the EC proposal represents an increase of 1.9% compared to the 2013 ceiling

– comparing the overall ceilings for 2007-13 (negotiated in 2005) with the EC proposal for 2014-2020 (using 2011 prices) shows an overall increase of around 5%.

– However, this is not comparing like with like as since 2005, two new Member States (Bulgaria and Romania) have joined, with another (Croatia) due to join in 2013. What is more since 2005, Member States have asked the EU to do much more than it did before – for example set up an enhanced foreign service (the European External Action Service) and set up new financial supervisory authorities to help prevent future banking crises.

– despite this, the Commission’s proposal represents a significant reduction in EU spending as a proportion of Gross National Income (GNI). The average for 2007-2013 was 1.13% of GNI, for 2014-2020 the Commission proposal is 1.08 % of GNI;

– the current EC proposal is for a substantially reformed budget for growth with many changes the UK – along with the EC – has consistently argued for. The share of agriculture is down and the way it is spent has been radically changed, to encourage sustainable farming and avoid wasting food and land. Funding for research and innovation – which is a proven motor for growth and where the UK is a leading beneficiary – is up by over 40% compared to 2007-2013. There is a strong focus on Connecting Europe – partnerships to upgrade cross-border infrastructure and boost trade and growth. The financial regulations applying to beneficiaries of EU funding have been reformed to improve accountability and place the emphasis on results rather than process.    

The UK’s net contribution to the budget

Salient facts

– the most accurate calculation of the UK’s net contribution for 2011 is €7.255 bn/£6bn – if anything this slightly overestimates the real UK contribution – representing approximately 0.87% of UK public spending (£689 bn) in 2011.  

– all the bigger richer countries are net contributors, the UK is the sixth highest per capita (see table below) using the system in Annex 2c of the EU Financial report

– this is not money the UK pours into a black hole or donates to others – it is investment that brings back major benefits. Cohesion funding for example, has helped to create major markets for UK companies – Tesco being an excellent example – in the new Member States. UK construction companies have benefitted significantly from procurement contracts for infrastructure projects in new Member States funded by cohesion budgets. And some of the money – for example on development aid – is money the Uk would spend anyway if it was not pooled at EU level

– overall, the UK government estimates that that the single market brings in between £30 bn and £90 bn a year into the UK economy: or between five and fifteen times the UK net contribution


Background on UK Net contribution

The only authoritative source for EU budget figures is the EU Financial Report, which for 2011 was published in September 2012. 

1/Annex 2C of the report includes as part of the UK contribution all of the “EU own resources” – such as customs and sugar duties – collected by the UK on behalf of the EU. Some argue that these should not be counted as this is never “UK money” but money always destined for the EU budget.

– Expenditure (Funds paid from EU budget to UK government and other UK organisations: €6.57 billion

– Total revenue (UK gross contribution to EU budget, minus the UK rebate): €13.852
Net contribution for 2011 on this basis = € 7.255 bn

2/ Annex 3 shows what is known as the operational budgetary balance: This is a special methodology which does not calculate expenditure on administration and proportionally spreads the total income from customs duties and sugar levies among MS (just to eliminate the so called “Rotterdam” effect since countries like Holland and Belgium have due to their geographical location for goods entering single market higher customs collections). It is a statistical exercise. The result for UK in 2011 using this basis is a net contribution = € 5.57 bn. And this would be only the ninth highest per capita.

Figures like £19 billion a year bandied about in some quarters are highly misleading – that is the outlying estimate of the gross contribution before the rebate and before funding that comes back to the UK.

The UK government figures for the net contribution published by the Office for National Statistics while accurate as far as they go, do not reflect the full picture as they usually take into account only payments from the EU budget to the UK central and local government sectors. Agriculture payments pass through DEFRA so those are counted as is Cohesion funding that passes through DCLG – but these do not count, for example, payments from the EU research and innovation and digital agenda budgets to UK universities and SMEs, payments into public private partnerships like the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative or Green Cars scheme or payments from the EU education and training budget to schools and students

The EU has not “wasted £89 billion in one year” (Express, 7 Nov)

Monday, November 12th, 2012
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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

On 12 November the Daily Express published a letter from Algirdas Šemeta, European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud correcting their grossly misleading article (Nov, 7). Good to have our position reflected in the Daily Express –for a change, even though post-factum. Also interesting to show what of the Commissioner’s reply was left out.

Commissioner Šemeta’s letter:

“Auditors certified the accounts accurate for the fifth year running.

They said that 3.9% of EU-financed activity involving about £4 bn did not fully comply with all relevant rules. This is serious. But it does not mean the money was wasted or misspent. An “error” can be anything from a missing signature to a mistake in a tendering procedure. It does not mean fraud, which affects 0.2 % of the EU budget.  Neither does it mean the mistakes were made by “Brussels”. The auditors blamed the Member States – who manage 80% of EU funds – for the vast majority of errors, with the UK among the five with the most errors found.  The European Commission has reformed its accounting and proposed big steps to further improve management of EU funds. But those can only deliver if Member States, too, step up to the mark.”


What the Express published:

Auditors certified the accounts accurate for the fifth year running.

They said that 3.9 per cent of EU-financed activity involving about £4billion did not fully comply with all relevant rules. This is serious. But it does not mean the money was wasted or misspent. An ‘error’ can be anything from a missing signature to a mistake in a tendering procedure. It does not mean fraud. Neither does it mean the mistakes were made by ‘Brussels’. The auditors blamed the Member States – who manage 80 per cent of EU funds for the vast majority of errors.

No “crippling new tax on Britain”

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
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Rating: 3.4/5 (10 votes cast)

Letter sent to the Editor of The Daily Express on 5th January, 2012

Your front page claim that the EU will “hammer Britain with a crippling new tax” (5 Jan) is fantasy. First, as your own article says on page four, the UK has a veto on the proposed financial transaction tax. Second, far from “destroying jobs”, the proposal aims to save jobs by helping prevent crises caused by reckless speculation. The aim is for banks across the EU to contribute fairly to the trillions of pounds and euros it has cost taxpayers to rescue them. Proceeds in the UK would go to national coffers and to reduce the UK’s EU budget contribution. Finally, all EU leaders have repeatedly made clear that they want a responsible City of London to thrive, as thanks to the EU single market it provides vital financial services right across the EU and contributes to jobs and growth in all Member States.

Many thanks

Mark English
Head of Media
European Commission Office in London

Reform of the EU budget – Daily Express 28 October 2009

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
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Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Dear Sir,

Your front page “exclusive” today on the reform of the EU budget is exclusively wrong.

There are no “secret plans” to levy an EU income tax. No changes in the area of direct taxation can be made without the approval of all Member States, including the UK. There is no document on budget reform to be discussed by European leaders this week.

The EU budget is limited – at around 1% of EU GDP – but effective. A coordinated European approach – as opposed to 27 national approaches – to for example development or research policy avoids duplication and waste and saves money. But of course there is room for improvement.

Our task is to rethink the budget from scratch to ensure the best possible value for Europe, which includes UK taxpayers. That is what we will do.

Yours etc.

Antonia Mochan,

Head of Media
European Commission Representation, London

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

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