This follows new disclosures in the row over revelations made by the European Commission’s former chief accountant, Marta Andreason, that serious weaknesses existed in its accounting procedures.
Andreason was suspended from her post last year by Neil Kinnock, the commission’s vice-president, but now an internal commission report has substantially vindicated her findings with the result that Kinnock has come under pressure to explain his actions or resign.
The report was written by Jules Muis, the commission’s internal auditor, and described the whistle-blower’s charges as ‘factually substantive and correct’.
Kinnock’s spokesman Eric Mamer told Accountancy Age this week that the Muis report was ‘not disputed’ and agreed it was written in ‘expressive language’.
But Mamer insisted Andreason was moved from her post not because of her criticisms, but because her working relationship with Kinnock and other colleagues had broken down, and she had gone public with her findings.
In essence, Andreason said that the commission’s book-keeping and general accounting procedures were ‘chaotic’. They failed to detect negligence and inefficiency, and opened up the possibility of fraud, although she said no fraud had been detected.
Although the parliament turned down a request on Monday for an emergency debate on the matter, president Pat Cox called on the commission to co-operate fully with MEPs looking into the affair.
It is likely that Kinnock will have to explain his position before the parliament’s budgetary control committee this week in Strasbourg. The committee is composing a report on whether or not to discharge the 2001 budget and, unless Kinnock is extraordinarily eloquent, the verdict is expected to be a ‘thumbs down’.
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