According to material published by the French newspaper Libération, the fraud and conflicts of interest revealed by the September 30 conviction of a former member of the European Court of Auditors (CEA) are just the tip of the iceberg in a much more complex system.
A devastating investigation into the European People’s Party
Jean Quatremer, the EU correspondent for this left-wing (pro-EU) daily, published the results of his investigation on 1 December, involving not only the Court of Auditors but also the European Commission and the Court of Justice, revealing the existence of a state underground (parallel) created mainly by the European People’s Party (EPP).
In what could be described as a deep state created and cultivated by the EPP, concepts such as the rule of law and the need to protect the financial interests of the European Union do not seem to apply, although the party so often opposes certain member states. chosen from the east, such as Poland and Hungary, but also the Czech Republic and Romania. The serious part is that the institution responsible for ensuring the EU’s financial transparency also seems unable to apply the transparency required of others.
What discussions aroused the appointment of Martin Selmayr
Unlike other EU countries, in France, the country where these revelations were made, the media has been silent on the investigation of this respected journalist, who is known for causing the resignation of the European Commission led by Jacques Santer in 1999, with his revelations about the practices of French Commissioner Edith Cresson. At the same time, Jean Quatremer’s work as a journalist is the one behind the withdrawal from the European Commission, in July 2019, of the German Martin Selmayr, the former right hand of Jean-Claude Juncker, as 10tv.ro notes.
In December 2018, the appointment of Selmayr as Secretary-General of the European Commission was the source of a European Parliament resolution stating: “The EC (European Commission) has not respected the principles of transparency, ethics and the rule of law.”
Quatremer was the first to reveal how Selmayr was illegally appointed Jean-Claude Juncker as Secretary-General of the Commission in February 2018.
Karen Pinxten, a close member of the European Court of Auditors, a close relative of the current President of the European Court of Justice, Koen Lenaerts, has been found guilty by the European Court of Justice of his misappropriation. half a million euros from the Court of Auditors. Pinxten’s illegal activity has been confirmed following an investigation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). However, OLAF does not appear to have clean hands in this case either. As a result, Pinxten was deprived of two-thirds of his pension rights as a former member of the European Court of Auditors and is being tried in Luxembourg.
A premiere by the Court of Justice
On 30 September, Jean Quatremer wrote in Libération: “This is the first time in the history of the European Community that the Court of Justice has ruled on such a sanction against a European official”, a “member” of the ECA being the equivalent of a European Commissioner.
“In 2006, in a decision to close the case, Edith Cresson, the French commissioner who, by offering fictitious jobs to her relatives, a nepotism revealed by Libération, forced the EU executive then led by Jacques Santer to resign 7 years ago, in In 1999, the European Court of Justice simply held that the mere finding that it had failed to fulfill its duties was in itself a sanction. However, the former Socialist prime minister did not embezzle money for his own benefit, while Karel Pinxten “abused his service for acts of personal enrichment or in pursuit of his personal interests.”
In an article published on December 1, Quatremer notes that the signatures of eight judges of the European Court of Justice are missing from the September 30 ruling against Karel Pinxten, which was theoretically handed down in plenary. Among the missing signatures was that of the President of the ECJ, Koen Lenaerts, who had officially resigned because of his close ties to Pinxten.
“These two Dutch-speaking Belgians, who met on CD&V, the Flemish Christian Democratic Party, before Pinxten left him for the Liberal Party, maintained very close ties,” Quatremer wrote on December 1.
A letter that sparked controversy
“The latter is the godfather of one of Lenaerts’ daughters and attended her wedding in May 2012, and the ECA covered the cost of her trip. Lenaerts and Pinxten also regularly had lunch or dinner together in restaurants, at the expense of the European taxpayer, without anyone understanding the professional interest of these meetings. Similarly, the Belgian judge regularly went to Pinxten’s house to attend parties on 31 May 2008 with 18 official EU guests, politicians and Belgian businessmen, all of whom were billed by the European Court of Auditors. at a cost of EUR 2,560 “, Quatremer also states.
“One of the letters of invitation, which also reached the Libération newspaper, sent by Pinxten to Charles Michel, the current President of the European Council, on 28 April 2015, while he was Prime Minister of Belgium, leaves little room for doubt:
There are always one or two prominent political figures, as well as a few high-ranking friends in the corporate world… Because they are part of my personal circle of friends, they can guarantee absolute discretion and respect for the confidentiality of our conversations.
“This should force participants who hold high positions in the European Union to refuse them or at least declare them, which has never been done,” the journalist said, according to the quoted source.
“Its main purpose is to bring together European officials, politicians and leaders at festive events that could suggest influence peddling.”
Another case is that of Swedish ECJ Judge Nils Wahl, who also chose to refrain from Pinxten’s case, as he reportedly participated in “nine hunting parties organized and paid for by a lobby of in Brussels, the European Organization of Landowners (ELO), which took place in Chambord, France, and at the Ciergnon royal estate (south of Dinant), Belgium. “
Quatremer gives a little clarification on this lobby: “its main purpose is to bring together European officials, politicians and leaders at festive events, which could suggest influence peddling.”
With the help of Pinxten, the ELO lobby involved both European Commissioners and Commission Managers, as well as Juncker’s Finnish Vice-President of the Commission, Jyrki Katainen (EPP), and Austrian Commissioner Johannes Hahn (EPP), who he was also invited to several dinners organized by Pinxten. One of these dinners, for 11 people, including Hahn, cost the European Court of Auditors, in other words European taxpayers, 2,178 euros. At another such dinner in July 2010, ECJ Judges Lenaerts and Quinn ate similarly at the expense of the European taxpayer through the ECA.