No Blak spot on Commission’s score-card

Series Title
Series Details Vol 7, No.13, 29.3.01, p11 (editorial)
Publication Date 29/03/2001
Content Type

Date: 29/03/01

IN A week when EU leaders were forced to admit that they have less in common now than they did in Lisbon a year ago, the European Parliament is about to prove that it can put petty politicking aside and forge a united front with Romano Prodi's European Commission.

The Parliament is next week expected to follow the much-feared budgetary control committee's lead in approving the way the Commission oversaw €84 billion in EU spending in 1999, the year in which Prodi took over the reins from the disgraced Santer administration. Danish Socialist MEP Freddy Blak, hitherto seen as the scourge of the Union executive, has praised this administration for its openness and willingness to cooperate with MEPs in getting to the bottom of mismanagement cases from the tail-end of the 1990s.

It looked for a while that some MEPs such as Gabriele Stauner would find it more important to land punches on their political enemies in the Commission. But the anti-fraud hawks on the budget control committee have wisely decided to give this administration the credit it deserves for trying to clean up the mess in the stable left by Santer and Co.

There is still much work to be done in the stalls. From the Commission office in Stockholm to IRELA, the Europe-Latin America Institute, past mistakes must be acknowledged and dealt with. For too long it was too easy for opportunists to assume that the EU would not detect or crack down on minor or even major abuses.

But the Parliament seems to have recognised that the Prodi Commission is serious about tackling these problems, as the enormous political capital invested in reform by Michaele Schreyer and Neil Kinnock shows. As Blak said this week: "We have received more information and documentation than ever before in the history of discharge."

Given the enormous challenges this Commission has to tackle before its term of office expires at the end of 2004 - enlargement, staff reform, turning foreign policy aspirations into reality - the Parliament has given it a vote of confidence which will help all the institutions reach their common goals. But Prodi's team must now deliver on its bold promises.

Subject Categories ,