In 1999, my maiden speech as a Conservative MEP and member of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee (COCOBU) reflected the concerns of all European MPs at our inability to assess a new team of Commissioners after the fall of the disgraced Santer Commission. It seems to me that little has been achieved in the way of financial reform since then. I was born in Tanzania where the government and the civil service are incompetent and corrupt. I thought that I would find it different here in the EU. There are 360 million European citizens in 15 Member States and yet we cannot find just 20 men and women with relevant professional competence, work experience and a clean past to be Commissioners. To make matters worse, the democratically elected European Parliament of 626 MEPs, which may vote overwhelmingly in favour of dismissing an individual Commissioner, is overruled by a re-cycled politician from Italy who, as President of the Commission, reserves the right to sack, or not sack, his own Commissioners. Is this a Parliament with teeth or just a talking shop? Commissioner Kinnock’s sacking of Marta Andreason, highlights the Commission’s arrogance and public disregard and simply confirms the weakness of its accounting systems. Kinnock was appointed Vice President of the Commission to reform and clean up the Brussels bureaucracy, not to silence competent professionals with integrity who exercise their judgement in the best interest of European citizens at considerable cost and embarrassment to themselves!
Public perception, especially in the UK, is that the European Commissioners are overpaid, incompetent and arrogant in their use of political power for which they have no mandate. European citizens will remain disillusioned by the EU until the Parliament is able to choose the Commissioners and secure the right to sack them at any time for mismanagement!
Bashir Khanbhai MEP (Conservative) Eastern Region UK (656)