Europe must overturn the "annual embarrassment" of not properly balancing its books, Treasury economic secretary Ed Balls has warned.
Gordon Brown's closest ally attacked the union for failing for the 12th time in row to gets its accounts approved by its own auditors.
Balls, who is in Brussels today for talks with European finance ministers, said: "We [meet] against the backdrop of a qualification of the European Union's accounts by the European Court of Auditors for the twelfth successive year, with the court unable to give a positive statement of assurance on two-thirds of EU spending.
"This is very disappointing. Europe - member states and the Commission - must do better to end this annual embarrassment."
Speaking at the ICAEW's annual conference in London on Monday, Balls said that the UK...