SP ‘unimpressed’ by European Court of Auditors nominee

7 June 2011

SP ‘unimpressed’ by European Court of Auditors nominee

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong describes himself as ‘unimpressed’ by the prospective Swedish candidate for the European Court of Auditors, the body responsible for monitoring the financial affairs the European Union’s institutions. ‘He has no perspective on the changes which are urgently needed at the Court,’ says De Jong. ‘He sees it tiding him over until he gets his pension, yet he has no experience as a member of a comparable body and was once named in an integrity scandal in Sweden. Sufficient reasons surely not to appoint this man.’

Change of Culture

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has been in the news frequently during the last six months. Statements from Dutch former ECA member Maarten Engwirda in national daily De Volkskrant created a real hue-and-cry at the beginning of the year. Engwirda asserted that in his time at the ECA he had seen numerous matters swept under the carpet because certain members allowed themselves to be overly influenced by national considerations. “Engwirda at the same time claimed that a cultural change was in the offing, which would demand new Court members willing to roll up their sleeves to transform the institution,” De Jong points out. “Yet this man says in his letter to the European Parliament soliciting our support that he’s looking for a calm job for the sake of his pension. In short, the wrong man for this position.”

Friends in High Places

The Swedish candidate, H.G. Wessberg, is a close political ally of his country’s Prime Minister. His candidature is a political nomination which in Sweden is not uncontroversial. In addition, he was named in an integrity scandal surrounding elections within the Swedish Conservative Party, where it was alleged that he had signed up new members and paid their dues in order to ensure the choice of a political ally. In the European Parliament too we see political friends of the centre-right group, the European People’s Party, pushing through his appointment, despite the above-mentioned objections.

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