HC Deb 09 February 2001 vol 362 c748W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy towards monitoring the European Commission's spending on its budget lines, with particular reference to moneys spent on(a) information campaigning and (b) lobby groups. [147516]

Mr. Vaz

The Council and Parliament are the joint arms of the EU Budgetary Authority and have responsibility in monitoring and setting annual spending for all EC institutions, including the Commission. Within this arrangement, it is the Parliament which has the final say (in its Second Reading of the Budget) over all items of non-compulsory expenditure, which includes funding for information campaigns and lobby groups. With regards to these, it is within the remit of the Commission to make commitments and payments, based on the criteria for the targeting of funds from these budget lines. The Court of Auditors has general responsibility for checking the legality and regularity of underlying transactions involving these and other EC funds and for ensuring the reliability of the Commission's accounts.

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