The European Court of Auditors is the EU's external auditor. It audits each year the EU accounts, revenue and spending, and then issues a verdict on the accounts, as well as on the underlying transactions down to the final beneficiary.
See below how the EU manages its funds: The true picture may be different from what you can read in the popular press!
The 2009 annual accounts have been given a clean bill of health from the auditors, meaning that the auditors considered them as being reliable and giving a true and fair view.
In payments, the level of errors has been significantly reduced in recent years, according to the auditors: it is now between 2 and 5% for the whole EU budget. This means at least 95% of total payments are correct and regular.
In payments for agriculture and natural resources (EUR 56,3 billion), the error rates have been stable over recent years and oscillate around the ''green light'' threshold of 2%, an achievement given the complexity and scope of subsidies made to thousands of farmers across the EU.
The auditors emphasise considerable improvements in cohesion policy, i.e. aid to EU regions and to boost employment (EUR 35,5 billion), EU's second largest policy in terms of budget.
Maximum 5% of total payments from the EU budget may have been affected by errors in procedures or bills sent by beneficiaries. These errors do not mean fraud or lost funds. When errors are found, financial corrections are imposed on the project or country at fault.
See also: Myths and facts