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EU Finances

Volume 456: debated on Monday 29 January 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what powers he has to secure the reimbursement of funds paid to the European Union but spent without proper legal authority under the EU treaties; (111321)

(2) what controls his Department has to ensure that revenue paid to the European Union is spent under a legitimate legal base provided for in the EU treaties.

[holding answer 25 January 2007]: The legal base for specific areas of EC budget expenditure is a matter for the Department which has policy responsibility for that area of spending and is something which they look at closely during the course of negotiations on these areas. The position the Department takes on the area of spending and legal basis is subject to parliamentary scrutiny of the House of Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee and the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the European Union. The UK makes its contributions to the EC budget as a whole and not to individual spending within it. When Council or Commission decisions have been adopted it is open to a member state to challenge the legal base through the Court of First Instance and the European Court of Justice under procedures laid down in Article 230 of the Treaty.