The European Union Fails on Financial Accountability
Khanbhai, Bashir, Contemporary Review
THE Eastern Region, comprising the six Counties in the East of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire), has a population of about 5 million -- larger than some Member States of the EU -- and is represented by a total of 8 Members of the European Parliament (MEP).
In June 1999, I was elected as one of these MEPs. In my first year in Parliament I was appointed as the UK Conservative Delegation Spokesman on the Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control. Like the Public Accounts Committee in the House of Commons, this Committee has the right to check any EU institution for financial misappropriation, fraud and corruption. The Committee plays an important role in identifying and highlighting corrupt practices and economic mismanagement. Regrettably, its task is undermined by the European Commission which continues to withhold information and documents relevant to investigations by classifying them as 'confidential'!
In 1999, there was considerable concern amongst Members of the European Parliament as they were expected to assess a new team of Commissioners after the fall of the disgraced Santer Commission. Neil Kinnock, former Labour Party leader and now the Vice President and Commissioner nominee for reform of the EU, was expected to deliver radical change that would transform the EU's economic management and restore credibility to the new team of Commissioners.
Sadly, Mr. Kinnock and his Commissioner colleagues have failed miserably. They have failed to adopt internationally accepted accounting practices; failed to adopt the recommendations of the 'three wise men' appointed in 1998 at the time of the crisis in the Santer Commission and failed to deliver on what they promised on appointment as Commissioners in 1999.
What are the functions, competencies and responsibilities of the EU institutions? Why is the European Commission unable to reform its financial management and work efficiency? What changes are required to ensure accountability, transparency and value for money for EU taxpayers?
The European Commission initiates and drafts legislative proposals, …
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Publication information: Article title: The European Union Fails on Financial Accountability. Contributors: Khanbhai, Bashir - Author. Magazine title: Contemporary Review. Volume: 281. Issue: 1642 Publication date: November 2002. Page number: 257+. © 1999 Contemporary Review Company Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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