Yes, the the Brussels bigwigs always promise to take action in order to stop the waste, but in reality almost nothing gets done.
In this year's report the audit authority has found a lot to criticize about in the lavish aid given to Egypt:
Egypt is one of the largest recipients of E.U. aid under a program called the European Neighborhood Policy, which seeks to promote stability and democracy among 16 recipients, including the Palestinian territories and Belarus.
In the case of Egypt, up to €600 million, or $800 million, of direct aid to support sectors like health and education could not be properly traced because of the lack of an adequate audit trail, according to the European Court of Auditors, an E.U. body that reviews major areas of spending by the bloc.The audit agency’s criticism will sting the E.U. authorities — in particular Catherine Ashton, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, and Stefan Fule, its commissioner for the neighborhood policy — at a time when they and their colleagues are under unprecedented pressure to justify their effectiveness amid rising disenchantment with the European Union.
“The softly-softly approach has not worked, and the time has come for a more focused approach which will produce meaningful results and guarantee better value for the European taxpayers’ money,” Karel Pinxten, a member of the court, told reporters.
The report by the court will also call into question whether the European Union is keeping close enough tabs on spending for Egypt worth about €5 billion that was agreed to in November 2012 during a meeting between Ms. Ashton and the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi.
The court, which publishes up to 20 so-called special reports each year focusing on major areas of E.U. expenditure, said its criteria for success were whether aid had been effective in improving management of public finances, reducing corruption and promoting human rights and democracy.
But Ms. Ashton’s and Mr. Fule’s departments had failed to use their leverage to promote those goals, and they failed, even once the lack of progress had become apparent, to take “decisive action to ensure accountability for considerable E.U. funds,” the court said in a statement summarizing its 50-page report.
Ms. Ashton’s department also failed to use its leverage to counteract the “negative attitude of Egyptian authorities” to encourage greater respect for human rights and democracy, the statement said.
The findings, which cover the period from 2007 through September 2012, call into question a European approach to development aid, known as budget support, that relies on transferring large amounts of money directly to recipient governments in countries like Egypt. The bloc was the only major donor giving that kind of direct support to Egypt, the court’s report noted.
Read the entire NYT article here