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Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK


World: Europe

Report attacks EU secrecy

The new European Parliament will scrutinise Commissioners closely

by Jonathan Beale in Brussels

A highly critical report has accused the European Commission of operating a culture of secrecy.

The report, published by a group of independent experts, follows an earlier investigation into mismanagement in the European Union's executive which forced the resignation of Jacques Santer and his team of commissioners in March.

It criticises "the whole tradition of secretiveness" which, said the document, characterises not just the Commission and other EU institutions, but above all the EU member states themselves when they meet on euro-business.

EU in crisis
This second stage of the investigation is being published as the European Parliament considers the appointment of a new Commission.


[ image: Paul van Buitenen: Passed on information about EU fraud]
Paul van Buitenen: Passed on information about EU fraud
Commission officials are also criticised for failing to support Paul Van Buitenen the auditor turned whistle-blower who first highlighted fraud.

But unlike the last report that named and discredited individuals such as the acting French Commissioner, Edith Cresson, the attacks this time are more general.

However only part of the report has so far been published.

Reform

The European Parliament has warned Romano Prodi that his new team will not be approved until all the evidence has been compiled.

It will be a relief to Mr. Prodi that none of the four former Commissioners who will return to high-level posts have been criticised.

Mr. Prodi has already committed himself to reforming the EU.

The latest report was not due out until September, but Euro-MPs insisted they needed its contents well before they vote on 15 September on whether to endorse the new Commissioners.



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