By Martin Banks - 3rd March 2011
This is an absolute disgrace
Parliament's budgets committee has approved the use of €12m of taxpayer's money to pay for damages to a language translation software company whose programme is used by the European commission's translation services.
The commission made changes to the system belonging to Systran SA in breach of copyright and, on 16 December, the European court ordered the executive to pay damages.
In a vote on Thursday, the budgets committe gave its approval for the damages to be paid out of the EU budget.
No-one from the commission was immediately available for comment but the move has sparked outcry among Eurosceptic members of the committee.
UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen, who sits on the budgets committee and who the only member to vote against giving the damages said, "The commission should hang its head in shame.
"They are burdening EU taxpayers with €12m because of gross ineptitude. What's more they are using shotgun tactics on the committee by threatening that the European court judgment is irrevocable and late payment would carry interest charges.
"Not content with trying to regulate every aspect of our lives, the commission and parliament now want the general public to pay for their multi-million cock-ups. This is an absolute disgrace."
A spokesman for UK Conservative MEPs said, "It is unfortunate that this decision has gone against the commission, however there is an appeal still pending so it is not the end of the matter.
"We would of course much rather this amount did not have to be paid, but it is a legal requirement, and failure to do so would be in breach of the law and the commission would be liable for further action.
"Should the appeal be successful, and we are hopeful, the money will be repaid."