In Brief

EU overspends its translation budget by £3m

All official documents must be translated into 24 languages - and Irish is the most expensive

The European Parliament has overspent its translation budget by millions of euros, prompting accusations that the EU is continuing to waste taxpayers' money on vanity projects and bureaucracy.

Accounts obtained by the Daily Telegraph show the parliament's in-house translation unit is set to exceed its annual €8.2m (£7.5m) budget by €3.4m (£3.1m) this year. As part of its commitment to multilingualism, all major reports and official documents must be translated into each of the EU's 24 official languages. Private translators charge an average of €21.91 (£20.27) per page. Irish is the most expensive language to translate, costing up to €42 (£39) a page.  

The EU has around 4,300 translators and 800 interpreters on its permanent staff, yet it still outsourced more than a third of its translation work to private contractors last year.

Although the European Commission has said the cost of translation adds up to less than one per cent of the EU's total annual budget, or about €2 (£1.84) per person per year, eurosceptics have claimed it is still a waste of taxpayers' money.

The Telegraph cites projects such as a multi-lingual website called My House of European History, billed as "a unique collaborative project incorporating your testimonies on Europe" but branded self-indulgent propaganda by some, as an example of EU waste.

Speaking to the paper, Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North-West Leicestershire, said: "Not only has the EU not had its accounts signed off for over 25 years by accountants, they are still wasting huge amounts of taxpayers' money on self-indulgent self-promotions."

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