The Romanian Parliament effectively decriminalised political corruption on Tuesday this week. If signed onto the statute books by the President the new law means that the country’s President, senators, members of the lower chamber, as well as lawyers, are no longer to be considered public officials and means that they can no longer be held to account for abuse of office, bribery, conflicts of interest and other corruption crimes.
The European Commission’s reaction needs noting; they said that: “Public officials who hold legislative, executive, administrative or judicial offices should be covered by corruption and conflict of interests rules. For the EU Commission it is very important that all citizens are equal before the law.”
In 1998 Paul Van Buitenen blew the whistle on corruption and fraud in the Commission that led to the fall of the Santer administration. He was suspended, had his salary halved and faced disciplinary action.
In 2002 Marta Andreasen in her role as Chief Accountant in Brussels blew the whistle on fraud in the EU, she was suspended for “violating Articles 12 and 21 of staff regulations, failure to show sufficient loyalty and respect“, and subsequently fired.
In 2003 Dorte Schmidt-Brown reported fraud and irregularities in Eurostat, and was subjected to such pressure that she had a nervous breakdown.
Also in 2003 Robert McCoy was subjected to a campaign of intimidation and hatred after he began to investigate fraud in the EU Committee of the Regions.
In 2008 Terry Battersby was removed from his job as Head of Information Technology at the EU-funded Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) after reporting that his boss may have approved the award of lucrative EU contracts to a company in which he had a financial interest.
In 2012 European Commissioner John Dali resigned over fraud allegations.
Quite how the European Commission feels that it can be the moral arbiter is quite beyond me. It actually seems like the Romanians are just getting into step with current EU practises.