Saturday

6th Mar 2021

Top lobbyist defends alleged bully set to chair EU body

  • Jacek Krawczyk denies all the allegations (Photo: EESC)

One of Europe's top business lobbyists has stepped forward to defend an alleged bully who is facing possible criminal charges in Belgium.

The letter, seen by this website, speaks of "presumption of innocence" and "rule of law" in its defence of Jacek Krawczyk, who is set to be the next president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

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  • The EESC, based in Brussels, is the smallest EU institution (Photo: EU)

Krawczyk has for years skirted allegations of psychological abuse, until the EU's anti-fraud office Olaf earlier this year demanded Belgian judicial authorities launch an investigation, as first revealed by EUobserver.

The intervention is timely because of Krawczyk's future leadership position over a minor EU institution that delivers non-binding opinions on Union affairs.

Krawczyk currently presides over the EESC's employers group and works closely with BusinessEurope, an association that spends over €4m a year to push corporate agendas at the EU level.

Now BusinessEurope's director general, Markus Beyrer, is pressing the current president of the EU body to "ensure that the internal procedures of the EESC are balanced and fair."

Dated Monday (8 June), the letter comes one day ahead of Krawczyk's reckoning within the EESC's administrative hierarchy, known as the Bureau.

The Bureau is set to deliver a verdict on Krawczyk, a Polish national who has denied all charges amid claims they are political ploys to derail his leadership ambitions.

Fired?

However, a draft version of the Bureau's decision ahead of the meeting, and seen by this website, has him fired.

It demands Krawczyk resign as head of the employers group, step down as the institution's future president, and strips him of all administrative and staff duties.

These demands may change when the final decision is made.

Meanwhile, Krawczyk has also secured the support of Polish business lobbyists.

The Polish Confederation Lewiatan last week had described the EESC's internal body dealing with harassment issues as a "kangaroo court."

Krawczyk is vice-president of that same confederation.

They claim the EESC's advisory committee is in no position to decide Krawczyk's guilt and that he has been denied any chance to properly defend himself.

They also argue that the allegations against Krawczyk were made before the EESC's code of conduct rules had entered into force early last year.

"The sequence of events and irregularities described indicates a deliberate political action aimed at discrediting Jacek Krawczyk," notes the confederation, in a letter addressed to the EESC president and dated 4 June.

Exclusive

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A Polish official seeking to become president of the European Economic and Social Committee, a minor EU institution, could face Belgian charges for psychological harassment after the EU's anti-fraud office Olaf alerted authorities.

EU's smallest institution warned on 'threats, blackmail'

An EU institution known as the EESC has been given until the autumn to initiate a series of reforms to protect victims of harassment and whistleblowers, including against threats, blackmail and bribery attempts.

'Law of silence' reigns over EESC leaders, says staff union

The secretary-general of the European Economic and Social Committee, an EU institution, has been accused by a trade union representing staff for perpetuating a "law of silence" amid a flurry of abuse allegations against its likely future president Jacek Krawczyk.

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