Kinnock forced on the defensive as MPs probe van Buitenen affair

He told a meeting of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee that he had employers’ responsibility for only the very top European civil servants while his director general dealt with other grades.

Under pressure from Tory committee member Bill Cash MP, Kinnock defended the treatment of Paul van Buitenan, the whistleblower at the heart of the European Commission fraud and financial mismanagement scandal.

He said van Buitenen had had his rights maintained and had suffered no loss of career status following his four month suspension from work.

He also denied that the statement of van Buitenen would deter other whistleblowers from coming forward to reveal corruption.

He said: ‘Mr van Buitenen has suffered no relegation in status or loss of his rights.’

Kinnock went on to assure the committee that appointments to the Commission would in future be on the basis of merit. Member states would no longer be able to lever ‘place men’ into prominent positions.

However, he resisted the idea that the enforcement of regulation should move to the Commission. He said he believed regulation should remain decentralised and in the hands of member states.

Exclusive video interview with van Buitenen

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