SP: ‘Kroes's position should be discussed’

2 May 2006

SP: ‘Kroes's position should be discussed’

"The continuing business involvement of European Commissioner Neelie Kroes and in particular her links to the property magnate Jan-Dirk Paarlberg, who is under suspicion of money laundering, is sufficient reason to call her position once more into question.” So say SP Euro-MPs Erik Meijer en Kartika Liotard following revelations that Kroes has not adhered to the promises which she made when she came into office. The two intend to raise the matter with Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

Erik Meijer"In such a position it is essential to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interests and not make yourself vulnerable to blackmail," Erik Meijer said today on Dutch station Radio 1's news bulletin. In the aftermath of Paarlberg's arrest on suspicion of membership of the criminal organisation led by Willem Holleder, it emerged that Commissioner Kroes had only very recently ended her financial involvement with Paarlberg. "In September 2004," Meijer told Radio 1 listeners, "when she appeared before the European Parliament seeking approval for her appointment to the Commission, she said that these links had been completely severed. That now appears to have been incorrect. As the Commissioner whose responsibility it is to ensure that European business sticks to the rules you can't really get away with having this kind of black mark against your name." Her interests concerning her pension and stocks and shares were put into a blind trust, but apparently her property interests didn't join them."

Meijer en Liotard are to raise the matter once again with Commission President José Manuel Barroso in the form of a written parliamentary question. "We've always had the greatest difficulty regarding Ms Kroes's position and find these recent developments more than sufficient grounds for this to be looked at again, and critically," Meijer said. "The appearance of involvement in this affair and possible vulnerability to blackmail are making her position impossible. In addition, we are demanding, in the light of what has now come out, a full explanation of her assertion at the time to the effect that all ties had been broken. A European Commissioner who tries to pull the wool over the Parliament's eyes is one that we can do without."

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