Scrutinising government

EU Structural Funds: get the data

Euro parliament- Flickr/John & Mel Kots

The EU Parliament – they wouldn’t give this data centrally.

In November 2010 the Bureau, with the Financial Times, reported on EU’s hidden billions.

Our work created the only comprehensive database tracking every penny distributed through the EU’s Structural Funds up to that date.

It provides evidence on a structural fund programme that distributes €347bn of European taxpayers’ money across 271 regions in 27 countries.

For over eight months the Bureau and the FT collected the data that was never centrally published.  It relates to billions of euros and reveals 646,000 recipients that have received the funds.

Our research exposed how:

  • Italy’s most dangerous mafia, the ndrangheta, has become an expert at getting its hands on these funds
  • A decentralised, cumbersome and weak system allows, and rarely punishes, fraud and misuse
  • Millions of euros are going to multinational companies to help them move factories within the union despite guidelines discouraging this practice
  • Funds have been used to finance a hotel building boom on protected nature reserves in Spain
  • The lack of thorough checks means money is being wasted
  • Some of the world’s largest companies are receiving funding despite the programme being aimed at small and medium-sized companies

Up to now the database was maintained by the Financial Times.  Now we release all the data to data journalists and programmers for their own use.

It isn’t in an easy format but we hope that it works for those that know how.

Please share this information and keep us informed of any stories that come from it.

Any credit to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism would be gratefully received.

MySQL file (approx 600Mb):

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39827429/EU_Structural_Funds/sql/euFunds.sql

CSV file (approx 200Mb):
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/39827429/EU_Structural_Funds/csv/euFunds.csv