Kinnock’s future still uncertain

Link: Kinnock defends suspension of accountant

The committee is considering whether or not to discharge the commission’s euro96bn (£65bn) budget for 2001. The last time it failed to do so, four years ago, it led to the resignation of the entire commission.

Kinnock’s position has come under threat following confirmation by Jules Muis, special commission investigator, of serious weaknesses in the commission’s accounting procedures. These claims were originally voiced by former chief accountant Marta Andreason, who was suspended from her post by Kinnock last year.

UK conservative MEPs believe Kinnock is now vulnerable following publication of the ‘killer’ memo by Muis, who will also appear before MEPs tomorrow. Chris Heaton-Harris, Tory budget spokesman and a member of the EP committee, told Accountancy Age that recent events ‘appear to have blown a hole in the reliability of the accounts that the Commission has presented for 2001’.

Heaton-Harris added: ‘Given this new information how is anyone expected to sign off the accounts?’ The EP budgetary committee has the power to grant or postpone discharge of the accounts – it cannot reject them. But postponement alone would indicate the EP no longer trusts Brussels to keep its financial house in order.

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