EU Commission squeezed over Kroes’ Bahamas breach

EPA / ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN

Former European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes of StartupDelta tries a pair of (Virtual Reality) VR-goggles on the opening day of the Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 24 May 2016. The Startup Fest Europe gathers international experts to discuss the latest innovations, products and services in all sorts of business fields from 24 to 28 May 2016.

EU Commission puts forward “ethics”factor, as ex Vice-President Kroes joins Barroso’s controvercial ex-Berlaymont pantheon.


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EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, has written a letter to former Vice-President Neelie Kroes, asking for facts, details and clarifications over the Bahama leaks that showed her having interests in Mint Holdings offshore, which she has “failed to declare” over a five-year period.

The Commission is investigating Mint Holdings’ possible connection to any other firms that Kroes has taken decisions while being a EU Commissioner for Competition and Digital Agenda

The EU’s former anti-trust chief, that is currently a member of Uber’s Public Policy Advisory Board, needs to clarify to the European Commission, the details of her failed offshore declaration. The worst-case scenario, is her receiving potential sanctions that could mean that Kroes would not be eligible to receive a pension as a former EU Commissioner. However, the Commission’s chief spokesperson, Margaritas Schinas, clarified that the 75-year old ex Vice-president is not receiving any pension from the Commission at the moment, since she is still working.

Chinas rejected calls to reform the EU Commissioners’ Code of Conduct, describing it as the strictest in the EU, and on a global level. Chinas suggested that both ex- Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s Goldman Sachs case and Kroes’ offshore case, could not be foreseen.

The EU Commission’s chief spokesperson did concede that it is still necessary to clarify if “ethical issues” concerning independence and dignity were breached, as the Code of Conduct writes:

“Outside activities during the term of office: Commissioners may not engage in any other professional activity, whether gainful or not. Unpaid courses given from time to time in the interests of European integration and other communication activities on areas of European interest are the only outside activities that are permitted, and do not have to be declared.”

Administration failure?

An EU official confirmed that Kroes’ lawyer had sent an email to President Juncker on the Bahamas Papers offshore case since last Friday, but the EU Commission claims that it was read on Wednesday afternoon, after the case hit the press. However, it has been confirmed that journalists have been asking for the Commission’s reaction since the beginning of this week.

Amin Khaled Badr El-Din son’s alleged internship

One individual named as another Mint Holdings Directors, is a Jordanian national named Amin Khaled Badr El-Din, who seems to be connected with Lockheed Martin where Kroes was once a lobbyist. Badr El-Din’s son, claims to have been a stagier during Kroes’ term at the Commission, according to Belgian daily Le Soir. The EU official, however, denied his presence to any type of employment record. “We know our people,” the EU official concluded.

Another EU source told New Europe that there are other, unpaid internships (stage atypique), where records are not necessarily kept. Yet, the Commission has already talked with former members of Kroes’s Cabinets and cannot seem to find his presence anywhere.

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