Thursday

20th Feb 2020

MEPs to question Commission's action on Eurostat

MEPs in the powerful Budgetary Control Committee will convene this afternoon for an extraordinary meeting to assess the Commission's handling of the Eurostat scandal.

The measures taken by the Commission to tackle financial mismanagement in the EU's statistical arm Eurostat, has not appeased euro-parliamentarians' concerns, who believe action should have been taken earlier.

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Following revelations by the Commission last week which showed that the incidence of fraud was much more widespread than had previously been suspect, MEPs are wondering how the executive managed to get proof so quickly.

They point out that the EU's own anti-fraud office, OLAF, which has been investigating the matter for the last three years had not provided enough proof for the Commission to act.

This afternoon, at 3pm, the Budgetary Control Committee will also try to shed light on the role of the multidisciplinary taskforce set up to investigate the Eurostat scandal.

The taskforce is to be managed by Peter Zangl, currently deputy director general of the Information Society and under the authority of Franz-Hermann Brüner, director general of Olaf.

German Conservative Diemut Theato, who chairs the Budgetary Control Committee said with this inquiry team being made up of groups from various Directorate Generals, one has to be careful not to "mix up things too much."

Besides Mr Zangl and Mr Brüner, the Commission's internal auditor Jules Muis, and the newly appointed director general of Eurostat Michel Vanden Abeele will also attend the hearing.

Last week the Commission decided to open proceedings against three Commission officials.

Two of them are Yves Franchet, the former Director-General of Eurostat, and Daniel Byk, a former departmental director, who are accused of siphoning Union money into a private account during their tenure of key posts at the Luxembourg-based organisation.

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