Enquiry into EU agencies confirms SP’s suspicions over conflicts of interest

11 October 2012

Enquiry into EU agencies confirms SP’s suspicions over conflicts of interest

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong believes that the European Court of Auditors’ enquiry provides confirmation of the conclusion of an earlier investigation commissioned by the SP, that the danger of conflicts of interest arising in EU agencies is extremely grave. The investigators state that there remain, despite previous calls for action, no clear rules governing conflict of interest. ‘The Agencies under investigation have not dealt adequately with affairs involving conflicts of interest,’ says De Jong. ‘For that reason I will be requesting a plenary debate in which those responsible must be held to account.’

The report contains many clear examples of conflict of interest, such as the senior member of staff at the European Chemicals Agency who had the rent on his apartment paid by a chemicals corporation. All four agencies subjected to scrutiny - the European Chemicals Agency, the European Air Safety Agency, the European Food Safety Agency and the European Medicines Agency - exhibited major problems. Each is responsible for decisions affecting the safety and health of the consumer and should, the European Court of Auditors argues, for that reason enforce strict rules to prevent conflict of interest.

‘I expect to see the Agencies which have been investigated taking rapid and vigorous action against staff who have clearly overstepped the mark,’ says De Jong. ‘In addition, the Court of Auditors’ recommendations aimed at making future conflicts of interest impossible should be adopted in full. Next year will see the European Parliament launch an enquiry into all of the EU agencies and this question must form an important aspect of this.’

The European Court of Auditors Report can be read in its entirety here.

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