10th May 2012: This morning, Andrew Brons made his second contribution of the current Mini-Plenary Session in Brussels when he spoke during a debate on the discharge of the 2010 Budget on various items of expenditure.
"It is not primarily our job give an opinion on whether the money was spent as we would wish or on agencies of which we approve. It is to decide whether or not it was spent in accordance with the authority given to the institution concerned.
"Some of these reports contain few if any criticisms and the criticisms are minor. Assuming that the Rapporteurs were provided with accurate information that they took account of that information, then Parliament should attest to that. A good example of this is Mrs. Macovei's report on European Centre for Disease Control.
"However, Mrs. Macovei's report on the budget for the European Environment Agency does provide some evidence for suspicions of overlaps of spending on NGOs or pressure groups with which staff of the Agency had too close a relationship.
"Her report on the budget for the Food Safety Agency was unexceptionable in itself. However, I am concerned about amendments that would seek to water down the recommendations of the original report relating to conflicts of interest involving staff of the Authority."