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Parliament rejects Council accounts for 2010 but approves spending of agencies

MEPs refused on Tuesday to clear the 2010 accounts of the Council in the face of its continued failure to cooperate with Parliament and its budgetary control committee. However, they approved the spending of the environment, food safety and medicines agencies.

They point out in their resolution that although citizens have a right to know how their taxes are being spent and how the power entrusted to political bodies is handled the Council is still refusing to answer Parliament's questions, meet the budgetary control committee or hand over the documents needed in order to check its budget. It is the only EU institution to refuse to cooperate in this way.

"The attitude of the Council obstructs democratic control as well as transparency and accountability vis-à-vis Union taxpayers", say MEPs. They have particular concerns about the financing of the Residence Palace building project, the costs related to the new post of foreign policy high representative and the impact on the budget of transferring Council staff to the European External Action Service.

During a special hearing on Parliament's right to scrutinize the Council's budget, external legal experts made clear that MEPs have the right under the treaties to access the information they need relating to the Council's spending.

Discharge for agencies

MEPs voted to grant discharge to the Environment Agency in Copenhagen, the Medicines Agency in London and the Food Safety Authority in Parma, having postponed this decision earlier this year. After receiving supplementary information and assurances, they now felt able to clear the 2010 accounts of these three agencies.

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