Where is the transparency? More EU smoke and mirrors…

UKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour today accused the European Union of ‘hiding behind smoke and mirrors and fancy words’ after failing with three bids to amend a report on its finances.

Her comments came as MEPs scrutinised how billions of pounds of public money had been accounted for, during a debate on the approval – or  ‘discharge’ – of the EU’s 2015 budget.

In the Transport committee, Mrs Seymour tabled three amendments:

  • Calling for the Court of Auditors on ‘Competitiveness for Growth’ to explain why transactions under the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport showed errors concerning non-compliance with public procurement rules, and requesting greater transparency.
  • Seeking an explanation of why the renewed Safety of Air Navigation (SESAR) agreement had not been signed – preventing MEPs from seeing a budget for in-kind contributions and detailed breakdown of the multi-million pound project.
  • Requesting the names of European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) administrative board members, and others, who failed to provide the declarations of interest requested by the European Parliament and Court of Auditors.

All three of her requests were voted down in the Brussels transport committee chamber.

Mrs Seymour said: “Rejecting my first request to the Court of Auditors didn’t surprise me – the European Union is happy to suck money from member states like a giant leech, with absolutely no respect for how it is spent.

“Whenever more transparency is called for, they simply hide behind smoke and mirrors and fancy words, and completely ignore common sense. They show a total lack of respect to the citizens of the European Union.”

On the Safety of Air Navigation question, she added: “A total of 585 million Euros was fixed for this project in 2014 – I wanted to know how much more money had been wasted?

“The problem with the EU is that it spends money like it is going out of fashion, when actually it’s the Euro which is going out of fashion right now, with so many countries now questioning its membership.

“It is clear that MEPs like me are needed here more than ever at the moment, to scrutinise the vast sums which the EU continues to spend on Britain’s behalf.”

On her bid to name and shame those who failed to provide declarations of interest, Mrs Seymour added: “I just cannot understand why the committee rejected this amendment.

“The European Commission is always calling for sanctions to be made against member states for non-compliance . . . but when members of their own institutions are involved, the rules are suddenly different.

“Transparency is the watchword in European Institutions at the moment, but only when it suits them. The EU’s new logo should read ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.”