EU Commission Riddled with False Expenses Claims, Harassment Allegations

Europe
SISKA GREMMELPREZ/AFP/Getty Images
JOE MARKHAM

Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission is riddled with false expenses claims and cases of harassment, according to reports.

Some 77 cases were investigated by the EU Commission’s discipline watchdog last year, a Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed. Among the investigations recorded were several instances of staff claiming expenses in order to pay off family members, with one employee supposedly receiving physiotherapy treatment from a relative and charging the Commission the expenses to pay for it.

Other examples include faked medical expenses, false invoices, and attempts to award EU contracts to family members. One official was fired due to “professional extortion and passive bribery”.

As well as the false expenses and financial claims, 14 members of staff were also accused of harassment, with one staff member sacked for “aggressive and threatening” behaviour.

Despite the long list of potential scandals, however, only three staff members were reported to have lost their jobs over the accusations, with a further seven merely demoted.

Meanwhile, 21 incidents were recorded as “non-cases”, with a further 21 not acted upon.

Ironically, one of the members of staff who was sanctioned saw themselves stripped of their post because they had been whistleblowing on the EU Commission, reporting embarrassing instances to a newspaper.

In response, a spokesman for the Commission claimed: “When allegations of misconduct are established, they are sanctioned appropriately.”

They went on to justify the behaviour by suggesting that “The number of cases referred to in the report have to be measured against the overall number of staff — some 32,000 in total.”

Dr Lee Rotherham of the EU-focused think tank Red Cell told the Mail: “This report demonstrates why the UK was right to vote to leave the EU. It also looks like more evidence of the poor treatment of EU whistleblowers who try to do the right thing. It is a timely reminder of why the UK should not still be so generously feeding the EU budget.”

Dr Rotherham went on to condemn the lack of transparency and accountability of the EU, saying: “Once taxpayer money ends up in Brussels, people spending it lose any sense of ownership and accountability. But it doesn’t come from a magic EU money tree. It comes from ordinary hardworking people’s payslips.”

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