Van Buitenen’s posting has raised quite a few eyebrows at the European Commission, given that Kinnock has had an unhappy relationship with the Dutchman over a dossier of corruption allegations.
Although van Buitenen is now working for Kinnock’s key directorate general for personnel and administration, he will be unable to stride into the commissioner’s office and demand action over corruption and mismanagement, as a locked door separates the two men’s office areas.
Van Buitenen’s new job involves him monitoring staff policies in EU agencies.
He took leave from the commission last September, citing the need to spend more time with his family and claiming that ‘the pressure was too great’ to remain working for the EU. Van Buitenen returned to his hometown Breda in Holland where he has been working as a financial controller for the Dutch police.
He became famous in 1998 when as an assistant auditor, he alerted MEPs to fraud and mismanagement inside the EU – claims that eventually led to the entire Jacques Santer-led commission resigning. Last year, van Buitenen again voiced concerns over EU practice.
The Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix later honoured his efforts by making him a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. He also went on to win the Accountancy Age Personality of the Year award in 1999.
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