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Billions wasted on EU wannabes?

December 20th, 2010

Letter sent to the Editor, The Sunday Times, 16 December 2010

Dear Sir,

I was disappointed by a number of inaccuracies in your article “Billions wasted on EU wannabes” in last week’s Sunday Times.

The article claims its figure refer to 2009 funding, while they actually cover 6 years (2000-2006); mixes former and current applicant countries; and focuses on the very limited amount of EU funding that does encounter difficulties (1,4% according to the latest OLAF report for 2000-2006, published in July 2010), rather than the overwhelming part that does achieve its intended objectives.

Given the results of the EU funding in countries preparing for EU membership, I beg to disagree with the whole thrust of the article. The EU funding is an investment by the EU in its own security, stability and prosperity, as what happens at the EU’s border and in its immediate neighbourhood has a direct impact on the EU itself.

Financial assistance for membership candidates addresses issues such as cross-border security and the fight against corruption and organised crime, or tackling water pollution at the eastern rim of the Adriatic Sea, which directly benefits Greece, Italy and Slovenia, along with thousands of British tourists every year.

These are issues that directly affect UK citizens today. For this reason I would suggest that far from being wasted, our resources are being put to very good use.

Yours

Štefan Füle,
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy

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