I en tid der europeiske regjeringer legger frem dramatiske budsjettkutt, fortsetter EU å sløse vekk millarder på tvilsomme bistandsprosjekter som danseleksjoner i Burkina Faso, jetfly for tyranner og overflødige kontorer. Et eksempel på det siste er et rådgivingssenter i Mali, som har fått 8.8 millioner pund for å hjelpe innvandrere å finne arbeid i Europa. På tre år har senteret funnet arbeid til hele seks – 6 – personer.
EUs bistandsbudsjett er på ti milliarder pund (nærmere 90 millarder kroner), og inkluderer prosjekter som å gi dansetimer til afrikanere som tjener mindre enn 70 pence pr. dag. Den største mottageren av EUs bistandsmidler er det relativt velstående Tyrkia, som mottar over 500 millioner pund i året.
The EU’s Court of Auditors has criticised Brussels for failing to measure the impact of the aid. It said the EU commission randomly selected projects without assessing a country’s needs, and corrupt regimes were getting vast handouts just by filling out paperwork.
In Burkina Faso, where half the population earn less than 70p a day, Belgian instructors are teaching people how to dance through the ‘I Dance Therefore I Am’ project. Organisers say: ‘If its music moves, Africa will also move.’
The EU has given £8.8million to an immigration advisory centre in Mali, which tells people how to find jobs in Europe. The centre has found work for six people in three years.
A medical store built through aid funds in Sierra Leone, to house pharmacists and distribute free drugs, has been left derelict and is used as a urinal.
Hard-line regimes are also getting EU taxpayer funds, allowing their governments to be propped up.
Malawi, som nylig forbød promping i det offentlige rom og straffer homofile med opptil 14 års fengsel, vil få 450 millioner pund i bistand de neste fem årene. Etter forrige overføring kjøpte president Bingu Muharika seg et jetfly for pengene. Det samme gjorde Ugandas president Yoweri Museni, som også fant anledning til å kjøpe seg en 100 millioner punds residens for noen av de 407 millioner pundene landet mottar fra EU til sin fattige befolkning.
Other funds dished out by the EU are swallowed up by bureaucracy and spin doctors. The Tipik Communications Agency in Brussels was given £442,000 for aid campaigns. This included £80,000 to organise an ‘I Fight Poverty’ music contest where entrants were encouraged to ‘join our fight with music’.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the controversy ‘underlines the reason why we are pressing for strong reforms of the way the EU spends aid’.
He added: ‘The EU’s aid needs to be far more transparent, results-focused and targeted at the poorest people, and we are now working with Brussels to help achieve this.’
A UKIP spokesman said British taxpayers were ‘subsidising French guilt over their colonial past’.
He went on: ‘EU aid money is focused on countries that are former French colonies. When we joined Europe, it was made clear to us that no money would be going to countries with British ties, like India, Bangladesh or Pakistan.’
Chris Heaton-Harris, a Tory MP and former MEP, said: ‘EU aid has always been bedevilled by corruption and waste but lessons have not been learnt. They continue to support questionable projects and corrupt regimes at a time when national governments are tightening their belts.’
I en kommentar sier direktøren for anti-korrupsjonsorganet Tranparency International, Robert Lugolobi, at å «kaste penger på korrupte systemer og late som om du hjelper innbyggerne er å sløse bort offentlighetens ressurser.
Britain gives £1.4billion – or 18 per cent – of its protected £7.7billion aid budget to the EU. Think-tank Open Europe scrutinised EU aid spending and warned that the funds were often not going to poor countries.
Stephen Booth, Open Europe’s research director, said: ‘While development aid can have a real impact, the EU’s aid budget suffers from poor accountability, unnecessary bureaucracy and, most critically, less than half the money spent actually goes to the world’s poorest people.
‘Old colonial links and regional proximity, rather than fighting global poverty, continue to determine the destination of most EU aid.’