“While I am concerned that the Court has qualified its opinion on the accounts of the European Union for the 10th year in succession, I am pleased to see that the Commission has made progress in a number of areas. For example, the new accruals based accounting system introduced on 1 January 2005 presents a good opportunity to move towards an unqualified opinion. I am also pleased that the Court was able to identify progress with regard to other aspects of improved financial management, which the Commission seems intent to build on.
“The United Kingdom’s Presidency of the European Union, in the second half of 2005, provides a further opportunity for the United Kingdom authorities to continue to push for improvements in the financial management of the European Union, both during its Presidency and beyond. We will continue to work closely with European Institutions and the state audit institutions of the 24 other Member States to protect European Union funds and to bring about the necessary changes to improve financial management.”