Speaking at the College of Europe in Bruges, Dame Sheila said: ‘If the commission can rapidly improve its financial management, introduce 21st century personnel policies and practices – it and other institutions just may have a future. If it cannot improve, I, for one do not believe that Europe’s institutions can survive in the new millennium.’
Addressing an audience of 300, including the British ambassador to Belgium and senior European Union officials, Dame Sheila said the EC risked a crisis even greater that last year’s – which saw all 15 commissioners resign – unless it improved financial control systems.
‘Financial and democratic accountability go hand in hand,’ Dame Sheila said. ‘The skills of the accountancy profession are essential to the achievement of both. Until now European Commission officials have been selected for their intellectual brainpower and their language skills. But one language not valued is the language of management.’
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