Scandal follows Edith Cresson into her retirement

23rd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

LUXEMBOURG, Feb 23, 2006 (AFP) - Former European commissioner Edith Cresson was correctly accused of favouritism in her work for the EU executive and should lose half the pension it owes her, a senior judge recommended Thursday.

LUXEMBOURG, Feb 23, 2006 (AFP) - Former European commissioner Edith Cresson was correctly accused of favouritism in her work for the EU executive and should lose half the pension it owes her, a senior judge recommended Thursday.

Cresson, who served as research and education commissioner in Brussels from 1995 to 1999, was notably accused of hiring a dentist from her home town as an advisor, despite being warned the move was not possible.

The scandal surrounding Cresson, who also French prime minister in 1991 and 1992, helped spark the collective resignation in March 1999 of the entire European Commission under then president Jacques Santer.

"Mrs. Cresson is correctly accused of favouritism by the commission, in breach of her obligations as a commissioner," Advocate General Leendert Geelhoed said in an opinion for the European Court of Justice.

"A pecuniary sanction is appropriate," he concluded, and suggested "that the court deprive Mrs. Cresson of 50 percent of her pension rights as of the date of the court judgement."

Opinions by advocates general are not binding on the court, Europe's highest tribunal, but they serve as a basis for any final ruling. No date was set for the court to hand down its judgement.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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