MEPs use secret ballot vote, to block a EU whistle blower from new post*

Telegraph
20.07.2009
By Bruno Waterfield

EU whistle blower MEP blocked from new post

Marta Andreason, the former Brussels whistle blower sacked by Lord Kinnock, has been blocked from taking a senior position at the European Parliament by MEPs fearful of future ’scandal’.

Mrs Andreasen was blocked by Christian Democrat and Socialist MEPs from becoming vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s budgetary committee on Monday.

The centre-Right European People’s Party and the Socialists broke parliamentary convention on the allocation of committee posts by demanding a vote by secret ballot to block Mrs Andreasen, who was elected as a Ukip MEP for South East England last month.

“They know that I know too much. I know where the bodies are buried and that’s why they don’t want me,” said Mrs Andreasen.

Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat, attacked the “shameful decision” to hold a secret ballot so the MEPs could not be “held accountable for their actions”.

“The message it sends to the public is that anyone who speaks out against malpractice in Europe risks being excluded from office,” he said.

Mrs Andreasen, the European Commission’s former chief accountant, was fired in 2004 after she publicly claimed there was a £172 million discrepancy between two sets of Brussels accounts.

Lord Kinnock, who was then her boss as the Commission’s vice-president, furiously accused her of “disloyalty and breach of trust” after she went to MEPs with her concerns, already raised internally, over accounting standards.

“Marta is still the martyr,” joked one parliament official after Monday’s vote.

The parliament’s budgetary control committee plays a powerful role in scrutinising and signing off the European Union’s annual budget, worth £199 billion this year.

Inge Graessle, a senior German Christian Democrat MEP, admitted that the former Commission accountant had been opposed for the senior post because of her trouble-making past.

“The role she played in the past, what I feel was a certain scandalising of issues, is not really one we want endorsed by her becoming vice-chairman,” she said.

The 54-year-old Ukip MEP, who keeps her place as an ordinary member of the committee, remained defiant.

“This is a message about how much they fear me. But I still know what I know and they will not stop me,” Mrs Andreasen said.

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