The European Union is a group of untrustworthy members more interested in making money than in helping people, according to former Dutch ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer.
Brenninkmeijer became the Dutch member of the European audit office on leaving his post as ombudsman in 2014.
‘Europe has become too materialistic and driven by money when it should stand for ideals,’ the 63-year-old told the Volkskrant in an interview on Tuesday.
According to Brenninkmeijer, the Dutch are prepared to accept that ideals are part of their own national identity, but not when it comes to Europe. ‘The attitude is one of what’s in it for me,’ he told the paper.
The Dutch are just as bad as their neighbours within Europe, he said, pointing to spot checks carried out by the European audit office. ‘These show that the biggest fraud with the European social fund can be laid at the door of the Dutch,’ he said.
He is also concerned about Europe’s weakness. ‘It has only just dawned on us that Russia is on our doorstep. And what does Europe do? Are we a defensive or offensive union?’
He is also critical about the annual report of the European audit office, saying it should be scrapped. ‘It costs €80m a year which is 60% of our budget. It is unreadable, has a message no one understands and has no effect,’ Brenninkmeijer told the Volkskrant.
It is ‘incomprehensible’ that every year for 20 years the audit office has not signed off on the annual figures while the European parliament has accepted them, he said.
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