The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has criticized the sloppy use of EU funds. In his new report, he concludes that more than € 3 billion was spent unlawfully in the previous financial year.
With expenditure of around € 121 billion, this corresponds to an error rate of 2.6 percent.
Errors happened, according to the auditors, inter alia, that ineligible costs were reimbursed. In the field of research, for example, too many personnel costs were repeatedly submitted. For the reimbursement of costs, the estimated error rate was 4.5 percent. That could also be due to the sometimes complex rules, it was said.
The auditors nevertheless expressed confidence in publishing their report. The EU finances have been well managed in the past three years - in 2015, 5.5 billion euros had been issued incorrectly.
Room for improvement, according to Court of Auditors Klaus-Heiner Lehne, especially in regulations. The future EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen should reduce bureaucratic hurdles and create better control options, said Lehne.
Deliberate fraud was rarely suspected by the examiners. In cases where there is at least a suspicion, the Court forwards to the EU Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) - in 2018 there were nine cases.