Wednesday

19th Feb 2020

Commissioners pressed by Eurostat affair

European Commissioners are being urged to take personal responsibility over the fraud cases in the EU statistical office, Eurostat, if an internal report shows that they did not take the necessary steps against alleged corruption and fraud.

The Commission insists on its rhetoric that it "could not act before as [it] did not know" -although fraud has been ongoing for over 3 years - and the Commission has so far emerged unscathed over this affair.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

An internal report by the Commission due by the end of September is expected to shed more light over the case, although it is not expected to point fingers at any Commissioner but only to the officials.

Very seriuos

Hans-Gert Poettering, German MEP and leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament described this issue as "very serious", and expects that personal responsibility is taken by the Commissioners involved in the case.

"I can't accept that lack of knowledge of a Commissioner as an excuse," he said.

He also recalled that Commission President Romano Prodi has the power to ask any Commissioner to step down, unlike in 1999, when the former President Jacques Santer, could not officially demand that anybody make this move.

The Santer Commission resigned en masse in 1999 over charges of nepotism and mis-management.

Whilst stopping short from naming any Commissioners, Mr Poettering said that now is not the time to name and shame, and prefers instead to wait for the results of the Commission's internal report in September, and the report by Olaf, the EU-anti-fraud office in October before making any further announcements.

Romano Prodi, whose Commission had pledged 'zero-tolerance' on fraud and mis-management when it took office, will appear before the meeting of the political group leaders on 25 September, with members of the Budgetary Control Committee also attending the meeting.

Mr Prodi will report on the results of the internal Commission investigation into Eurostat and personally answer questions over this affair.

Letter to deepen Eurostat scandal

The European Commission could have reacted much sooner to stop alleged corruption at its statistical arm in Luxembourg according to Stern, a German news magazine.

EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link

One major issue dividing member states in the ongoing budget negotiations is inserting a direct link between EU subsidies and the rule of law. While the biggest battle will be over figures, the rule of law conditionality also creates tension.

Analysis

Is Belgium heading for new elections?

Belgian coalition talks have hit a wall nine months after elections, posing the possibility of a new vote, which risks making the country even harder to govern.

Central Europe mayors join in direct EU funds plea

They call themselves the "Pact of Free Cities". The mayors of Budapest, Bratislava, Prague and Warsaw want EU funds to bypass their governments, in order to fight climate change and populism.

Analysis

German domestic turmoil prolongs EU leadership gap

A leadership contest is back on in German chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling CDU party - which could decide not only the centre-right's future but also Germany's European policy. Berlin has been absent from the EU and will likely remain so.

Salvini relishes possible migration 'kidnapping' trial

The Italian Senate will vote on Wednesday whether the far-right leader Matteo Salvini should be brought to court for 'kidnapping' 131 migrants last year, when as the interior minister he refused to allow them disembarking in an Italian port.

News in Brief

  1. EU unveils white paper on AI and data strategy
  2. Dutch court rules against Russia in €46bn Yukos case
  3. Britain to bar 'Polish plumber-type' migrants
  4. Greece seeks EU help to get back classical statues from UK
  5. HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide
  6. Regions chief appeals against cutting EU cohesion funds
  7. Verhofstadt criticises UK Brexit negotiator
  8. Turkish court acquits Gezi park activists

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link
  2. North Macedonia warns EU on 'dirtiest ever' election
  3. Western 'endarkenment' and the voodoo politics of Europe
  4. Warning of agricultural 'digital arms race' in EU
  5. Cayman Islands put on tax-haven blacklist after Brexit
  6. Boris' Brexit bluff? - UK will resist alignment to the end
  7. US still open to Kosovo-Serbia land swap
  8. EU countries enter final phase of budget talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us