Vatican to initiate its own budget-cutting 'spending review'

Cuts sought in stationery, consulting and gifts to dignitaries

Vatican to initiate its own budget-cutting 'spending review'

(ANSA) – Vatican City, October 31 – The Vatican said on Wednesday that it would embark on its own 'spending review' to find ways to eliminate wasteful layouts as the effects of the global economic crisis weigh on its own treasury. No stone is to be left unturned. The review will look for ways to cut spending on everything from stationery, including photocopies, to consulting services, gifts to visiting dignitaries and payouts to sub-contractors. Even spending on the pope’s ornamental medals will fall under the review’s scrutiny. The Holy See is undergoing a thorough effort to get its finances under control. On September 11, the Vatican said that it had drafted in a Swiss expert to help it fight money laundering more effectively as part of an effort to join the 'white list' of states that, unlike tax havens, respect international standards on combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In July the Council of Europe's Moneyval department said in a report that the Holy See had made progress on financial transparency, but added that more reforms were needed and gave it positive grades in nine of 16 areas. The question of financial transparency in the Vatican is a delicate one. The Holy See has denied speculation that the former head of the Vatican Bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), was ousted in May over internal divisions concerning efforts to attain international transparency standards.

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