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22nd Jan 2022

EU countries ignore MEPs on court appointment

  • Top EU officials celebrated Croatia's recent EU entry in Zagreb (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European Parliament is annoyed that EU countries endorsed a Croatian candidate for the Court of Auditors despite the fact MEPs rejected him one month ago.

The EU Council on Wednesday (10 July) appointed Neven Mates as Croatia's man in the Luxembourg-based body.

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Mates, who used to work for the International Monetary Fund and who is currently an advisor to the head of Croatia's central bank, will do the job of overseeing EU spending for the next six years.

His basic salary will be €19,113 a month.

The move comes despite the fact MEPs on the budgetary control committee in May and in plenary in June said he is unfit to do the work.

He lost the committee vote by 16 to 11 before being rejected in the plenary vote by 396 to 231.

Under the EU treaty, the Council appoints nominees after "consulting" parliament, but it is not obliged to respect the MEPs' opinion.

In practice, EU countries follow the parliament's lead to avoid political clashes, however.

To add insult to injury, Mates himself had indicated he would not take the post if MEPs did not endorse him.

He told the budgetary control committee in his hearing: "In case of a negative opinion, it is quite likely that I would withdraw my candidacy, after careful consideration of all [the] objections."

The parliament on Wednesday criticised the Council's decision.

The head of budgetary control committee, German Liberal Michael Theurer, said in a statement: "The decision of the Council is difficult to understand … [and] shows disrespect to the European Parliament."

The rapporteur on the Court of Auditors process, Spanish Socialist Ines Ayala Sender, added: "I am shocked that Mr Mates did not keep his word … This is certainly not a good start for future relations with parliament."

Correction: The original story said the parliament's statement was circulated only in Croatian. In fact, it was published in English as well

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