Two thirds of EU aid money spent on Western consultans

Publish date: September 5, 1997

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

A new report from EU's Court of Auditors strongly criticize the effectiveness of EU aid to nuclear safety programs in the former Soviet Union.

Expensive consultans has received two thirds of EU aid funding to Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Since 1991 several billion USD has been put into the PHARE and TACIS programs. PHARE helps Central and Eastern Europe, while TACIS is designed for the former Soviet Union, exept the Baltics. In practice, the two programs often duplicate each other.

Much of the money has gone to nuclear safety projects, such as upgrading of the Soviet designed nuclear power reactors. According to the report, the highly paid western consultants working in Ukraine did not bother "to warn their superiors of the alarming situation in the nuclear-power stations."

"About 80 percent of PHARE projects managed on a decentralized basis are spent on contracts for services, supplies, or work," the report concluded. One member of the Russian parliament told the EU investigators that the TACIS programs are supervised now by foreign specialists whose work is paid at the expense of funds allocated to Russia.