Patten threatens to cut EU's foreign aid unless he gets staff
Wednesday 17 May 2000
Chris Patten, the European commissioner for external relations, has delivered an uncompromising ultimatum to the European Union member states, telling them the bloc's £7bn overseas aid budget will be slashed by two-thirds unless they give him enough staff to spend the cash properly.
The move is part of proposals approved by the European Commission yesterday to end the reputation of Brussels as a slow and inefficient distributor of aid. Chronic understaffing has caused the Commission to sub-contract out much of the work, often to companies that are either expensive, inefficient or even corrupt.
Mr Patten is determined to avoid taking the blame for weaknesses in projects that his department has insufficient resources to run.
Yesterday, he told the European Parliament: "We cannot go on as before. My only aim is to put the Commission into a position to run EU external aid properly and competently. If the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers agree to our ideas we can implement them from 2001. If not the Commission will be obliged to propose very big cuts of up to two-thirds to scale existing projects back [to] what we can manage properly."
Despite the vast sums spent on development, Brussels has attracted more adverse than positive publicity for some of its most important work. The present backlog of commitments has reached more than 20bn euros (£12bn) and, in the past five years, the average delay in distributing committed funds has increased from three to four and a half years.
For some programmes the backlog is equivalent to eight and a half years' payments.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...
Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - Senior Construction Solici...
£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: DT teachers required ...