EU covers up EU corruption

The European Commission has withheld a chapter on EU institutions in a report on corruption.

The original plan was to assess corruption across the member states and within the EU institutions.

However EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom only released details of corruption in member states on Feb 3 in the first bi-annual report around six months later than originally planned.

Malmstrom’s spokesperson Michael Cercone said that the commission had considered assessing EU’s own institutions but said that it would it be difficult to provide an objective self-evaluation because, unlike for member states, there are no independent external reviews the commission could draw on to evaluate its own institutions.

“Nor do we have a lot of academic research on anti-corruption measures within the EU institutions,” he said.

EU auditors have refused to sign off the EU’s annual accounts for nearly two decades because of widespread corruption.

Yet the commission blasted member states for “failing to tackle the problem head on”, claiming that some €120 billion is lost every year.

“We are not doing enough and this is true in all member states,” Ms Malmstrom told reporters without a hint of irony.

TUAEU spokesman Brian Denny said that the commission was ‘beyond satire’ as it covered up abuses in its own institutions while trying to discredit member states.

“This is a surreal tale that Franz Kafka would be proud of, the EU is attacking member states for corruption under a system it created itself particularly under EU public procurement rules,” he said.

Public procurement contracts demanded under EU competition rules are said to be the worst affected by corruption with up to a quarter of their value lost to corrupt practices.

Around 32 per cent of the companies who tendered public contracts say they lost the winning bid because of corruption, with construction and engineering firms the worst affected.

A report by TI earlier this month found that the commission had a poor record on banning corrupt companies that abuse EU funds.

It noted that in recent years the commission has banned only one company across all its spending programmes.

“The commission blacklisting system is not working. That may be understatement. It appears to be completely toothless,” notes TI’s website, which is soon set to issue its own assessment on the risk of corruption in the EU institutions.

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