28th Oct 2021

Dutch whistleblower vows to expose irregularities in EU institutions

Dutch whistleblower Paul van Buitenen has again attacked the European Commission and vowed to expose more details of mismanagement in the last administration.

Mr van Buitenen, who was elected in last June's European Parliament elections, has criticised the European Commission for its lack of reform after the fall of the previous Santer Commission in 1999.

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Speaking to the press on Tuesday, the Dutchman vowed to tackle irregularities in EU institutions from the budgetary control committee - where he is likely to get a seat.

During his appearance, he accused the Commission of abusing existing procedures to quickly promote senior staff to some of the top posts in the Commission.

Mr van Buitenen also raised doubts about the Commission's pledge for "zero tolerance to fraud" and questioned Commission Vice-president Neil Kinnock's administrative reforms.

As European Commission assistant auditor, Mr van Buitenen became famous in 1998 for blowing the whistle on fraud and mismanagement inside the EU institutions, which ultimately led to the fall of the Santer Commission in the spring of 1999.

The woman behind the alleged fraud - former commissioner Edith Cresson - was last week cleared from criminal proceedings, and has denounced accusations made against her, notably by Mr van Buitenen, as "gossip" that had been whipped up into "a climate of hysteria".

But Mr van Buitenen insists that there were cases of fraud in the Cresson case and said that the responsibility on Edith Cresson "is undeniable".

Ms Cresson is still awaiting the verdict of an internal Commission investigation, which could lead to a case being lodged at the European Court of Justice.

Mr van Buitenen warned that if the Commission does not pursue this matter further more details of the case will be exposed and the Commission "will be ripped apart [over] the way it dealt with this file".

"I am unhappy with they way things are going but its still too early to start exposing the details of the case. I am waiting for what the European Commission does internally ... and I have asked the European Commission to be heard before they take a decision so that I can explain to them in detail and confidentially what risks they run if they decide not to pursue the case", Mr van Buitenen told EUobserver.

Why the Greens?

Mr van Buitenen has decided to join the Green/European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament as an independent but admitted that his decision to join a group was to be able to secure a place in the powerful budgetary control committee.

He also added that if the Green group does not keep its promise to grant him a seat in this committee, he will leave.

"In order to perform my duties, I need a seat in the budgetary control committee ... If I don't get it I will be out of the green group", he said.

Mr van Buitenen said that before joining the greens he also negotiated with the Eurosceptic EDD, but said that what prevented him from joining the latter was the presence of the nationalist roman catholic League of Polish Families and the UK Independence Party.

"As a group they have a vision of Europe which is not mine", he said. "I'm not a eurosceptic, I'm a eurorealist".

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