He claims that such criticism can result in ‘negative press’, which fails to promote the image of that body, or at least the image he would like.
The European Court of Auditors has refused to sign off on the books of the body for eighteen years now and last year’s report pointed to £89 billion of European spending that was subject to what it called, “material error.”
The average authoritarian tends to believe that the waste, mismanagement, and fraud are not the thing that alarms the public. The real problems start when irresponsible whistleblowers, overzealous auditors or investigators fail to understand the need to keep the news of it out of the public domain:
Ever since it started producing annual reports into European finances in 1994, the Court of Auditors has failed to sign off the EU’s accounts because of widespread irregularities, including fraud.
Last year, the auditors’ annual report prompted the Government to warn that the findings “seriously undermines the credibility of the EU’s financial management” after the audit found that £89 billion of European spending was “affected by material error”.
Mr Van Rompuy acknowledged that the auditors must make “results known” but insisted that they had “another responsibility: that of being as didactic as we possibly can” in order to help instruct the public about the benefits of EU membership.
“In the end we are all responsible for Europe and its image,” he said. “In times of crisis, it is more vital than ever to foster confidence. We should also be teaching, to convince Europeans and demonstrate clearly that Europe is not the source of problems, but the solution.” …
… Nigel Farage MEP, the leader of Ukip [R], described the speech as an “incredible” attempt to muzzle the EU’s auditors.
“The Court of Auditors which has not signed off the EU accounts for 18 years, is asked to go easy and provide good PR only for the EU,” he said. In which other banana republic in the world would the president publicly call for less exposure of waste of taxpayers’ money?.”
Douglas Carswell, the Tory MP for Clacton, said: “Van Rompuy invokes euro idealism to try to get us to turn a blind eye to dodgy account keeping by his own Eurocrats. In doing so he discredits the very system he seeks to defend.”
Mr Van Rompuy and the EU civil service is concerned that it is going to be difficult to keep track of new funding projects, worth hundreds of billions in spending between 2014 to 2020.
Van Rompuy’s comments are not only an attempt to muzzle those whose responsibility it is, to root out financial irregularities in the organization, but a ‘Ministry of Truth’ style effort to hoodwink the public into believing that all is clear and above board.
His claim that auditors have a responsibility to be didactic and ‘instruct the public about the benefits of EU membership’ is patronizing and just plain wrong. The idea that Europe and its image is somehow the responsibility of auditors is a crock. An improvement in the perception of Europe can only be achieved by better and less governance, not the writing of reports through rose colored glasses.