When asked about the EU Court of Auditors’ Annual Report, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson (PMOS) said the government always looked to see what more could be done to improve the administration of EU expenditure in government departments. The fact that the Court of Auditors hadn’t been able to sign off the EU budget for so long pointed to the complexity, problems and challenges with EU spending programmes, problems which hadn’t been addressed, the PMOS added. The PMOS said these difficulties were just a few of many reasons why the UK and other member states continued to make the case for further EU budget reform, both in terms of bringing down the overall total, but also through simplifications.
When asked about the recent EU budget revision, the PMOS noted the agreement between all 28 EU Member States at the last European Council meeting that this was an issue which needed further work, adding that the UK would continue to work with all of its partners at the forthcoming Northern Future Forum in Helsinki, and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (EcoFin) meeting in Brussels on Friday.
With regard to German Chancellor Merkel’s reported suggestion that more names could be added to the Ukraine sanctions list, the PMOS said that the government would always keep the issue under very close review, stressing that the path of de-escalation needed to be followed. For however long that path wasn’t being followed, the UK would always look to see what more could be done, including sanctions, the PMOS added.