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Neil Kinnock, European Union Commissioner
"Our basic function is to see that we do the job properly"
 real 28k

Angus Roxburgh in Strasbourg
"It is the European Parliament that will be the first to hear about the reforms"
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Wednesday, 19 January, 2000, 16:37 GMT
Kinnock unveils EC reforms

EU Strasbourg Scandals have seriously damaged the commission's credibility


Plans to reform the European Commission have been unveiled in Strasbourg by the British commissioner, Neil Kinnock.

The proposals, described by Mr Kinnock as very radical, comprise the most comprehensive reform in the institution's 41-year history, and will bring about a shake-up of the commission's management system, personnel policy and finances.

Mr Kinnock's strategy contains an 84-point action plan that is intended to reform the EU's core institution over the next few years.


Kinnock's reforms
Management streamlined, some tasks devolved to member states
Personnel policy overhauled; promotion on merit
Finances controlled by independent auditor
Instead of squandering resources on too many tasks, the commission will identify priorities and channel money towards them, said Mr Kinnock.

His reforms envisage a new committee on standards in public life to eliminate sleaze, and a new audit service to monitor spending and cut out abuses.

Mr Kinnock says the dividend will be an improvement in the public's perception of the European Commission after a year when scandal and mismanagement seriously tarnished its image.

Personnel policy is to be overhauled to cut out nepotism and to make promotion dependent on merit rather than length of service or nationality.

"We will make merit the absolute precondition for promotion," Mr Kinnock said.

The commission has already vowed to review the rotation of top civil servants around different departments and to ensure each member state is fairly represented.

Scandals

The pressure for the commission - the governing body of the European Union - to change its ways of working, has grown steadily since the scandals of last year, which led to the resignation of all 20 commissioners.

Among those criticised were former commissioner, Edith Cresson, who appointed her dentist to a lucrative post.

Millions of euros of EU money also went missing.

European Commission President Romano Prodi entrusted Mr Kinnock with a key role when the new, 20-member executive was confirmed in office last September, six months after the resignation of the discredited commission led by Luxembourg's Jacques Santer.

The commission will now hold consultations with EU member states and the European Parliament, before discussing a final draft of Mr Kinnock's proposals on 1 March.

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See also:
19 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Kinnock's reform package
07 Sep 99 |  Europe
Kinnock makes case for EC reform job
16 Mar 99 |  Europe
EU plunges into crisis
29 Mar 99 |  Europe
The EU's dark hour: Special report
16 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
S&M at the EC
03 Sep 99 |  Europe
MEPs continue commission probe
01 Sep 99 |  Europe
EU chief demands support
17 Jul 99 |  Europe
European Commission addresses image
10 Jul 99 |  Europe
Prodi's blueprint for Brussels

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