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11 Oct, 2011 10:04

EU bureaucrats bleeding union dry

Bureaucrats have been squandering EU funds for years, using the cash to enhance the body’s public image in order to ensure its survival, claims Marta Andreasen, European Member of Parliament and former Chief Accountant to the European Commission.

Andreasen said she was not a Eurosceptic when she was appointed chief accountant but she now believes that Brussels only cares about propping up the idea of the EU, however much the budget grows.“I thought the European project was a project of corporations, I thought they were sharing solutions among different member states, so I was quite honored to be able to be a part of that and the administrative reform that it was undergoing,” she told RT.Marta Andreasen explained that she changed her mind about the EU after she found out that “they had no control of the payments they were making out of the EU budget.”

‘They do not care about taxpayers’ money’

“Basically, they did not ask if people were qualified to get the funds from the EU and I was responsible for putting my signature to that expenditure, so I had the highest responsibility, and I felt I needed to know if I was paying to the right person and for the right purpose,” the former chief accountant explained.“They just did not care and they did not allow me to make changes to be able to determine that we were making the right payment,” she said, adding that people who were not supposed to get EU funding might have used the funds for other purposes.Marta Andreasen revealed that when the EU authorities raised revenue from European taxpayers, they were gave misleading information about where that money was going. “To a certain extent they were lying to the European taxpayers.”Andreasen believed she was working on behalf of the taxpayer and her obligation was to make sure payments were correct.Marta Andreasen was fired for blowing the whistle and she doubts whether anything in the EU’s finance and budget control has changed since.“I can see that both the Budgetary Control Committee (which oversees payments out of the budget) and the Budget Committee (which oversees the planning of the budget) have no respect for taxpayers’ money,” Andreasen lamented. “It is very difficult to prove fraud in places where you do not have adequate systems of control,” she said. “But there are beneficiaries who are getting the money without being eligible  – that is the essence of the situation.“I do not think there is any will [in the EU] to tighten these practices up, because they have a different agenda – they want to promote the European Union project and to do so they want to be able to give the money to the people who will support and promote the EU project, not to the people who really care about the EU in a proper way and not to the people who are going to use this funding to grow the economy of a certain part of the EU,” revealed the MP.

Real power in hands of elite

”The real power in the EU is in the hands of the directors-general of various directorates of the European Commission, who have been sitting in their chairs for decades, while the commissioners come and go every five years,” explained the former chief accountant, accusing the directors of using funding to curry support. And Brussels is not expected to cut spending amidst the global financial crisis.

The Greek phenomenon

Greece was not eligible to enter the Eurozone at the time she was let in, but despite the fact that all the data necessary to evaluate the state of the economy of any European state is available through Eurostat, the statistics agency went silent, never disclosing the problems that were in the pipeline for Greece, and which have taken barely ten years to emerge. “The [EU] budget was used to grow the economies of all the countries that came to the Eurozone. Greece got 60 billion euro in the last 20 years out of the EU budget. The question is – where did the money go? Because the Greek economy has not grown,” asks Marta Andreasen, saying that the same applies to Spain and Portugal.

Out of control

Despite the UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague saying that the EU budget is under control, it is far from being so, insists Andreasen.It is the EU directors at the helm of the body who have a vested interest in keeping the European Union project going in order to retain power over the EU member states.Ending the interview, Marta Andreasen confessed that ten years after she attempted to change the financial system of the union, she feels vindicated.“We could have prevented all that is happening today,” she concluded.