BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union auditors said on Thursday that more than 5 billion euros ($4.85 billion) of EU funds were misused last year, as countries Authorities often make misallocations of funds, and cases of alleged fraud increase.
In its annual report, the European Court of Auditors (ECA), which assesses the EU budget, estimates that an average of 3 percent of last year’s 181 €5 billion expenditures were irregular , up from 2.7% last year.
“The level of error in high-risk spending is widespread,” the auditor said in the report, issuing an “objection to last year’s spending by the 27-nation group.” Opinion”.
The auditor pointed out that the error was mainly due to the difficulty of the national authorities in applying complex rules and criteria when selecting the beneficiaries of the fund. They said it did not represent a measure of fraud or wasted money.
However, they found 15 cases of potential fraud, up from six last year.
The auditor’s opinion will not lead to immediate consequences, but may spur investigations into suspected fraud, and the authorities should use these opinions to improve spending on the next steps several years.
27 National and local authorities in EU member states are responsible for spending the majority of EU funds.