Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Friday, August 29, 2003
What happens when you lie to Parliament?
The enquiries into the latest fraud case, stifle that yawn at the back, in the EU have as ever been dragging on interminably. But yesterdays news from the Stern brings a serious question mind.
If a politician knowingly lies to Parliament should they resign?
Before the summer Neil Kinnock told the Budgetary Control Committee that he knew nothing about the growing scandal in Eurostat. He was first informed by the whistle-blower Dorte Schmidt-Brown in September 2002. The Stern says it has in its possession a letter from Kinnock discussing the scandal dated January 1st 2002. If The Stern is correct then this is a direct lie to Parliament. Now I know this is old fashioned of me but does this not require that Kinnock resigns?
What is more Commissioner Solbes Mira, the Spaniard in charge of Budgets told Parliament that he could not be guilty of something of which he knew nothing. But I was brought up to believe that ignorance is no excuse – especially as evidence is mounting that the Commissioners were only too aware of the problem before the FT wrote about it this May. Next week The Sprout will reveal the existence of a letter about the subject from Romano Prodi himself, dated in the 2000, a full two years before the whistle-blower went public. In June his Chief of Staff denied that any Commissioner knew anything, because he David O’Sullivan had decided that they should not have to trouble themselves with corruption in their departments.
So what happens to accountability in Europe? Nothing. Where are the politicians prepared to demand recompense, never, will the press call for their corrupt and futile heads? Of course not.