Expatica news

Cresson faces EU lawsuit

20 July 2004

BRUSSELS – Former French Prime Minister Edith Cresson is to face legal action at the European Court of Justice for allegedly abusing her position as a European Commissioner in the late 1990s.

Last month, a Belgian court dropped a criminal investigation against her over a scandal which led to the collective resignation of the European Commission in 1999.

However, on Monday, the European Commission said it had decided to press its own disciplinary charges against Cresson linked to what it called “clear favouritism and negligence”.

In a statement, the Commission said: “This decision follows an intensive analysis of all the elements available to the Commission and a hearing of Mrs Cresson and her lawyers on June 30.”

“The Commission has decided to ask the court to determine if Mrs Cresson failed in her duties as a member of the commission,” it continued.

The finger of suspicion has been pointed at Cresson – French premier from 1991-2 – over her decision to employ her dentist Rene Berthelot in the Commission’s education and research department, which she headed from 1994-1999.

The Belgian court concluded there was insufficient evidence against Cresson of fraud and falsification.

The Commission said its allegations are different, but “linked to some of the same incidents.”

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news