|EU BUDGET: AUDITORS URGE REFORM OF SPENDING|
Aruba, November 10, 2015 - Independent auditors say the EU needs a "wholly new approach" to investment and spending, in a report on the bloc's 2014 budget.
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) gave the budget a clean bill of health overall, but found that 4.4% was mis-spent - the budget "error rate".
The European Commission says most "errors" take place at national level, where 80% of EU funds are managed. The €142.5bn (£101bn) spent in total was about 2% of all public spending. The ECA's criticisms were sharper in tone than in previous years, BBC Brussels reporter Alex Forsyth says.
"The EU must invest its money better," said ECA President Vitor Caldeira.
"It must ensure its investments match its priorities more closely, simpler rules are framed." As in previous years, the biggest spending areas were agriculture and rural development (€57.5bn) and cash for poorer regions, known as "cohesion" funds (€55.7bn).
The auditors said too much EU money remained unspent after being allocated to member states which lacked the capacity to make good use of it.
The budget must also be made "more responsive in a crisis", they said.
During this year's migrant crisis EU member states have struggled to send resources to where they are urgently needed. Pledges for the border agency Frontex, for example, were not fully met.
Read more at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34769733