EU accounts ‘signed off’ but subject to errors

Published: 21st Oct 2016

“The audit for the European Union has not been written off in 20 odd years”

BBC Question Time audience member, 20 October 2016

It depends on what you think ‘written off’—or ‘signed off’—means.

Auditors say the EU’s accounts are accurate and have been since 2007, but for the last 20 years they’ve also recorded significant errors in how money is paid.

It’s a bit like having a bank account that accurately records the transactions you’ve made, but some of them still shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

In 2015 the European Court of Auditors—which checks the EU’s accounts—found just under 4% of spending was affected by some kind of error. The most common kind is when people claim for costs they’re ineligible for.

Only a small minority of errors are proven cases of fraud, where people have deliberately tried to get money illegitimately, and the EU does recover some of the lost money later.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time. Read the roundup.


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