Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Monday, January 11, 1999 Published at 18:17 GMT


World: Europe

Schröder steps into fraud row

Gerhard Schröder offers President Santer a helping hand

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has intervened in the controversy over allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement in the European Commission.


Europe Correspondent Angus Roxburgh: "Entire European Union could be thrown into utter chaos"
The European Parliament is expected to debate whether to remove all 20 commissioners over the allegations, which concern multi-million dollar humanitarian aid projects that never existed and financial favours for friends.

Speaking before the European Parliament debate in Strasbourg, Mr Schröder - the new head of the rolling six-month EU presidency - proposed the creation of a new working group to examine the fraud allegations and tighten up the system of awarding contracts.

The group would include officials from the commission, the parliament and the member-states' own council.


The BBC's David Eades: "Mr Schroeder spoke of misunderstandings between the Parliament and the Commission"
Speaking in Bonn with the commission president, Jacques Santer, by his side, Mr Schröder said he wanted the Brussels-based commission to be free of suspicion so that it could tackle urgently needed reforms in the coming six months before EU enlargement.

'Thorough investigation'

Mr Schröder, Germany's new, left-wing president, said: "The federal government is interested in a stable and capable commission. By looking into these allegations the commission is on the right road."


[ image: President Santer will defend the Commission's credibility at the Parliament]
President Santer will defend the Commission's credibility at the Parliament
Correspondents say a censure vote in the European Parliament on Thursday is unlikely to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to remove all commissioners from office, but point out the debate is a political embarrassment for Brussels and has severely undermined its credibility.

Mr Schröder promised that Germany would strive during its six-month presidency to clear up the issue. "The commission will get a boost with the support of the German presidency," he said.

SDP MEPs free to vote

Mr Schröder said he had not instructed members of his Social Democratic Party in the European Parliament how to vote on censure motion.

Before he left for Strasbourg, where he will address Parliament, Mr Santer said: "The debate this evening in Strasbourg is important because it should help clear up relations between the Commission and the legislature. We have become victims of our own policy of transparency because we uncovered these issues."

In 1996 the Commission opened its own investigation into fraud in tourism projects and its humanitarian aid office.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

11 Jan 99 | Europe
Strasbourg's 'nuclear option'

11 Jan 99 | Europe
Germany faces difficult EU talks

07 Jan 99 | Europe
EU chief: No fraud cover-up

17 Dec 98 | Europe
Crisis at the European Commission

11 Dec 98 | Europe
Background: The EU budget row





Internet Links


European Commission


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift