London Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis voted not to sign off on the accounts for the European Union’s multi-billion pound aid programme today.

Conservative MEPs have refused to sign off on any part of the EU’s accounts until the Court of Auditors approves the entire budget. Last year the court rejected the budget for the seventeenth year in a row.

Marina believes that the EU’s development budget is of particular concern, especially as the European Commission is unwilling and unable to shut down failing aid projects.

In a speech to the European Parliament, Marina said: “It is also our duty to ensure that official development assistance is spent wisely.

“Based on the commission’s own monitoring, more than a quarter of EU projects are either not performing or performing with difficulties.

“I wrote to the commission earlier this year to ask how many projects it had cancelled in 2011 due to poor performance. I was shocked to discover that it had not cancelled a single one.”

Marina believes that before requesting an inflation-busting budget increase the EU must do more to root out waste in its institutions. Marina will be calling on the European Commission to ensure that all its aid projects are either effective or eliminated.

Note: The European Development Fund (EDF) provides aid to countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific. The 10th iteration of the EDF runs from 2008 to 2013 with a budget of €22.7 billion (£18.2 billion).

The European Commission’s report on “results-oriented monitoring” of aid projects revealed that for 2010 8% of projects were categorised as “not performing” and a further 19% were “performing with problems”. For projects over €5 million (£4 million) these figures were 11.6% and 24.3% respectively. For the full report see: http://bit.ly/JW59To

In an official answer to a parliamentary question posed by Marina, EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs revealed that “the Commission has not cancelled any related legal commitments in 2011.” Question: http://bit.ly/JXKdGi Answer: http://bit.ly/Jfr1u3