Dance lessons in Africa, jets for tyrants, derelict offices… how EU wastes aid billions

The EUSSR, a bottomless pit:

Not to mention that Herman van Rompuy and Miguel Barroso also expect you to pay for their pension plan……

Daily Mail

EU aid helps Belgians to teach people in Burkina Faso to dance
EU aid helps Belgians to teach people in Burkina Faso to dance 

Billions of taxpayers’ cash is being spent on spurious aid projects through the EU, including giving dance lessons to Africans who earn less than 70p a day.

Britons pay £1.4billion towards the EU’s £10billion aid budget, but much of the money is going to corrupt regimes or projects where no checks are made that it is properly spent.

Meanwhile, relatively wealthy Turkey is the EU’s main recipient of aid, raking in £500million a year.

The EU’s Court of Auditors has criticised Brussels for failing to measure the impact of the aid. It said the EU commission randomly selected projects without assessing a country’s needs, and corrupt regimes were getting vast handouts just by filling out paperwork.

In Burkina Faso, where half the population earn less than 70p a day, Belgian instructors are teaching people how to dance through the ‘I Dance Therefore I Am’ project. Organisers say: ‘If its music moves, Africa will also move.’

The EU has given £8.8million to an immigration advisory centre in Mali, which tells people how to find jobs in Europe. The centre has found work for six people in three years.

A medical store built through aid funds in Sierra Leone, to house pharmacists and distribute free drugs, has been left derelict and is used as a urinal.

Biggest recipients of EU aid

Hard-line regimes are also getting EU taxpayer funds, allowing their governments to be propped up.

Malawi – which recently outlawed flatulence in public and ruled that gay people could face 14 years’ jail – will get £450million in aid money over five years. Malawi’s president Bingu Mutharika bought a jet shortly after receiving the latest tranche of EU cash.

Uganda is getting £407million over five years. President Yoweri Museni, 67, who fought an election with posters depicting him as Rambo, bought a Gulfstream G550 jet. He has also built a lavish £100million residence while most of his people live in poverty.

Britons pay £1.4 billion towards the EU’s £10 billion aid budget, but much of the money is going to corrupt regimes or projects where no checks are being made

Other funds dished out by the EU are swallowed up by bureaucracy and spin doctors. The Tipik Communications Agency in Brussels was  given £442,000 for aid  campaigns. This included £80,000 to organise an ‘I Fight Poverty’ music contest where entrants  were encouraged to ‘join our fight with music’.

International Development  Secretary Andrew Mitchell said  the controversy ‘underlines the reason why we are pressing for strong reforms of the way the EU spends aid’.

He added: ‘The EU’s aid needs to be far more transparent, results-focused and targeted at the poorest people, and we are now working with Brussels to help achieve this.’

A UKIP spokesman said British taxpayers were ‘subsidising French guilt over their colonial past’.

He went on: ‘EU aid money is focused on countries that are former French colonies. When we joined Europe, it was made clear to us that no money would be going to countries with British ties, like India, Bangladesh or Pakistan.’

Chris Heaton-Harris, a Tory MP and former MEP, said: ‘EU aid has always been bedevilled by corruption and waste but lessons have not been learnt. They continue to support questionable projects and corrupt regimes at a time when national governments are tightening their belts.’

Biggest recipients of EU aid

Robert Lugolobi, the Uganda director of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, said: ‘Throwing money into a highly corrupt system and pretending you are helping citizens is a waste of public resources.’

Britain gives £1.4billion – or 18 per cent – of its protected £7.7billion aid budget to the EU. Think-tank Open Europe scrutinised EU aid spending and warned that the funds were often not going to poor countries.

Stephen Booth, Open Europe’s research director, said: ‘While development aid can have a real impact, the EU’s aid budget suffers from poor accountability, unnecessary bureaucracy and, most critically, less than half the money spent actually goes to the world’s poorest people.

‘Old colonial links and regional proximity, rather than fighting global poverty, continue to determine the destination of most EU aid.’