EU auditors claim Bulgaria, Romania mishandling PHARE funds

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Court of Auditors released a report on Tuesday (20 June) criticising the European Commission (EC) for not monitoring the way Bulgaria and Romania are handling aid under the PHARE programme. The audit covers projects initiated in 2000-2004, involving 511m euros given to Bulgaria and 1.4 billion euros given to Romania. Many of the projects that the money was allotted for were delayed, sometimes by up to two years.

The report singles out a 1.8m euro tranche that was given to Bulgarian prosecutors to buy a computer network; 37 workstations were found unused in a warehouse. A newly-built asylum centre in Romania was reported to have an occupancy rate of just 7.6 per cent. In its response, the EC said most of the problems have already been addressed.

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