Anti-fraud MEP demands EC candidate inquiry
27 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — European parliamentarian Paul van Buitenen, who was elected on an anti-fraud ticket, has demanded that the Dutch government screen European candidate commissioner Neelie Kroes.
27 September 2004
AMSTERDAM — European parliamentarian Paul van Buitenen, who was elected on an anti-fraud ticket, has demanded that the Dutch government screen European candidate commissioner Neelie Kroes.
The Dutch MEP has raised 18 different concerns relating to possible wrongdoing. He has demanded that the Dutch intelligence service AIVD conduct an investigation into Kroes, who is already under pressure for possible conflicts of interest.
Van Buitenen claimed that Kroes — a former Dutch transport minister — lied to the Dutch Parliament when she denied links to one of the directors of the firm Tanker Cleaning Rotterdam, which wrongfully received a government subsidy.
His request for Kroes to undergo an investigation has been lodged with the Dutch government and incoming EC President Jose Manuel Durao Barosso, who is backing Kroes' appointment. The request for an inquiry was denied, news agency ANP reported on Monday.
Van Buitenen came forward with the information prior to hearings between the European Parliament and the 25 EC candidates in the coming week.
Kroes will be heard on Tuesday and will face criticism that she has served as a commissioner with too many companies to be considered impartial for the EC's competition portfolio, one of the most important economic posts in the EC.
And Van Buitenen claims to have obtained incriminating information against Kroes, such as from investigators who were ordered from above to halt various inquiries. Kroes is also accused of having the "wrong" friends or involving other friends in business.
Based on this line of behaviour, the Socialist Party called on the government on Friday to withdraw Kroes as candidate commissioner. The French Socialist MEP Pervenche Beres has also expressed concerns over possible conflicts of interest.
But Kroes — who has sat on many company boards of commissioners and has in the past been described as the most powerful Dutch woman — has asserted that if appointed as a European commissioner, she would not pass judgment on the companies she had been involved with.
Beres remained unconvinced and said Kroes should be excluded from giving rulings over entire sectors that include companies she has previously been involved, thereby making her unsuitable as the EC's competition watchdog.
And adding weight to the mounting pressure on Kroes, Van Buitenen claims that she would have known about the illegal price cartel that Dutch construction company Ballast-Nedam entered in the past few years and was recently fined for.
He said the company's wrongdoings were known by the board of management and Kroes — who was a company commissioner — would therefore have been aware of the illegal price fixing.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news