Auditor chides EU over energy efficiency funds

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's auditor says that some €5 billion ($6.7 billion) in funds specifically targeted at energy efficiency projects over the past dozen years were largely ill-spent.

Harald Woegerbauer, who compiled a report for the European Court of Auditors, said Monday that funds often went to general refurbishment of public buildings "while energy efficiency was, at best, a secondary concern."

Returns on the investments were expected only after about 50 years, and sometimes as much as 150 years. The ECA said "these funds were not spent in a sensible way."

EU spending is coming under increasing criticism as member nations have to tighten their belts to keep debt within acceptable limits. EU leaders are expected to decide on a new 7-year EU budget next month.

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