Auditors find “black hole” of the Balkans

Published on 14 October 2009 at 13:19
Trouw, 14 October 2009

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Commenting on a report presented to the European Commission on 13 October, Trouw notes that the European Court of Auditors claims that a large number of cooperation projects funded by the European Union in the western Balkans “have had no long-term impact.” In the columns of the daily, Dutch auditor Maarten Engwirda theorises that the inefficiency of projects designed to develop the justice systems of countries that are candidates for future membership of the EU (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro) is “mainly due to a lack of commitment” on the part of the national governments concerned. As proof, the report cites the example of computers purchased with Commission funds for the Albanian police force, “which remained in their packaging for eight months before being delivered to their final users.” According to Engwirda, the Court of Auditors – hot on the heels of such shock revelations – will shortly be bringing all its scrutinising skills to bear on the use of funds in Turkey. Apparently, the document has posed significant difficulties for the writing team, which has “struggled to find appropriate terms” for findings that are deemed to be “extremely sensitive.” Surely they will find a way.

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