Thursday, May 12, 2005

You could not make this up

The EU commission, we are told, plans to tighten controls on the way member states spend EU money and to impose stricter rules for lobbyists “as part of a drive to increase transparency and trust in the 25-nation bloc.”

Anti-Fraud commissioner Siim Kallas has announced a package which will be debated by the commission next week. It also includes plans to improve standards of conduct for EU officials.

The proposal, says the report, comes as Barroso "is under fire from some European parliamentarians for accepting a holiday on a Greek billionaire's yacht."

This "transparency initiative", it appears, is part of an effort by the commission "to bring the EU closer to citizens, who often regard its institutions as distant, bureaucratic and sometimes corrupt."

"It is a package of steps to increase the trust of citizens," says Kallas, adding that, although fraudulent spending of EU funds did not appear to be a serious problem, "we must prevent the misuse of EU money as it compromises the EU and member states".

"There is sometimes... a contradiction here between transparency and data protection. There must be a balance between them," he says.

And the source of this report: the state-owned China Daily.

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