Von der Leyen on ‘regrettable’ decisions made in EU budget
Brussels has forked out on a cinema in Kosovo, road and rail projects in Uganda and a women’s prison in Turkey as part of the bloc’s foreign policy strategy, a cache of internal documents has revealed. British taxpayers’ were forced to cough up around £19.5 million for this EU spending spree. The dossier shows £48 million was handed to Uganda’s finance ministry to upgrade a 41-mile stretch of the Atiak-Laropi road to “paved standard”.
And another £35 million of taxpayers’ cash was given to the East African country for the “rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu railway line”.
A further £2.7 million spent to help with the smooth running of the Ugandan train service.
Despite a turbulent relationship with Turkey, EU decision-makers splurged more than £9.5 million on “pre-accession” projects in the country.
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Ankara has insisted it has shelved plans to join the bloc after holding initial membership talks back more than 20 years ago.
The funds were used to bolster the country’s dried apricot and textiles industry, expand a women’s prison and restore historic monuments.
A number of “outreach campaigns” were also launched by senior eurocrats to promote the EU as a foreign policy superpower.
They spent £1.8 million “to have a positive impact on the policy agenda between the EU and Canada” and had plans to splash out at least another £6.3 million on similar projects in Russia, Israel and the United States.
Among the eye-watering sums was £45 million spent by eurocrats on hotel and travel bookings, and events on deciding on future spending sprees.
German MEP Lars Patrick Berg, a member of the European Parliament’s powerful foreign affairs committee, said: “With a health emergency that could leave our economies wrecked at home, why are taxpayers being asked to pay tens of millions to support the apricot industry in Turkey and road development in Uganda?
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“It is this sort of frivolous spending by the EU which turns people against the project. Foreign aid should primarily be for humanitarian and disaster relief, not for dubious projects in far-flung countries, some of whom oppose our democratic values.
“I think the EU could learn a thing or two from the UK by cutting the foreign aid budget to help cover the costs of helping our own people and businesses during the current crisis.”
The EU’s recent spending has come under fire because the Continent is facing its worst recession since the Second World War.
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Express.co.uk revealed the bloc spend £23 million on circus acts.
Another £1.4 million was spent fetching relics for the European House of History museum.
And eurocrats even blamed the pandemic to secure another £400,000 of taxpayers’ cash to buy office supplies.
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