Should Prodi Resign?

Well, I didn’t generate too much controversy yesterday, so let’s see if this one is a runner. Prodi is going to have a face to face meeting with members of the European Parliament to try and explain how the Eurostat mess was allowed to happen. According to the FT story Prodi is ‘attempting to fight off calls for his resignation’. Apparently he will explain that Commission members first learnt of the problem on reading about it last May in the press. So what do we say, is this a resigning issue? Should Prodi go? Would Solbes going be ‘settling scores’ on the SG pact differences? Well, this may be the sort of thing that brings the EU administration into ridicule, but at least we are able to ask the question.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

6 thoughts on “Should Prodi Resign?

  1. Well, it’s perhaps too early to start demanding his resignation, but it may well come to that. Let’s see what he does.

    I don’t think the EP wants to make them resign while the IGC is still on, they’re often on the same side in the debate, and it’s a generally a bad time for a crisis. At least the referendums will be over, however there’ll be a new round about the constitution in a bunch of countries.

    The next budget will be in the spring, right? Then all the things I said will be over I think. That would be exactly the stage in Santer’s term where the EP made him resign. Hmmm…

    It’d be good for Berlusconi, unfortunately.

  2. Does the constitutional draft allow Parliament to demand the resignation of a single Commissioner? Or, figuratively speaking, will everyone have to go again, just to get rid of Cresson?

    On the other hand, Prodi was pretty unequivocal about fighting corruption when he came in…

  3. This is not sufficiently high profile to kill anyone right now.

    Over here in Germany, the affair is hardly even talked about. This is not a second Cresson case. Plus, with Euro news being domintated by quarrels about budgetary discipline, foreign policy/US relations, the constitution and enlargement, in whose interest would it be, least of all the Parliament, to point out additional weaknesses? Maybe Berlusconi has a personal thing with Prodi, but he’s weakened himself to an extent that no one in Brussels needs to worry about him at the moment.

    Don’t you think?

  4. It all depends on what revelations we’ll see.

    But it’ll take a lot less for Parliament to sack him than for him to stand down on his own or because the Council forces him or whatever. But I don’t think a lot of media attention is necessarily needed for Parliament to do it, they have other considerations.

  5. Prodi is reported today (Thursday) as saying, “there is no need for any senior members of his team to resign over alleged fraud at the European Union’s statistical agency, Eurostat.” – from:

    Those who have followed the recent sequence of revelations about fraud in the EU Commission can appreciate his problem. As the Financial Times on Thursday put it:

    “Pedro Solbes, commissioner for monetary affairs, Neil Kinnock, administration commissioner, and Michaele Schreyer, budget commissioner, are all seen as sharing some responsibility by MEPs, who had their first chance to read the reports last night.”

    The list of prospective resignations by Commmissioners sharing responsibility for ineffective oversight of administration in which fraud reaching millions of Euros has been conducted by Commission bureaucrats is starting to look decidedly awesome. With its usual impenetrable logic the Commission is therefore saying: No one is responsible.

    That is why fraud on this scale has continued for years. And Commissioners knew about it much earlier than is now admitted as this report shows:

    “The European Commission could have reacted much sooner to stop alleged corruption at its statistical arm in Luxembourg according to Stern, a German news magazine. According to an article that appears today (28 August), the journal has proof that at least one Commissioner was knowledgeable of apparent wrongdoing at Eurostat, much earlier than first assumed, or admitted by Commissioners. . .” – from:

    Recall this passage from Britain’s National Audit Office in its report to Parliament on 12 June:

    “For the year 2001, the [European Court of Auditors] drew similar conclusions to previous years and for the EIGHTH year in succession qualified its opinion on the reliability of the Community’s accounts. The Court’s opinion on the financial statements again emphasised the persistent and on-going weaknesses in the [EU] Commission’s accounting systems, particularly the lack of reliable information on the completeness of assets held, and recommended that urgent action be taken to address these problems.” – at:

    What would we say of a public utilities company where the auditors refused to endorse the company accounts for eight yeasrs in succession?

  6. An update and why Commissioner Kinnock should go:

    “Dorte Schmidt-Brown, the Danish employee of Eurostat, who blew the whistle on financial irregularities, does not regret her actions even though she has paid a very high personal price. She is now living on the island Fuen in Denmark on invalidity pension, as a direct consequence of the hard psychological pressure she suffered from her then bosses in Eurostat. . .

    “Mrs Schmidt-Brown complained back in 2001 that the company Eurogramme had won contracts under false pretences. After being ignored and transferred to a department that had no dealings with the company, she wrote a series of letters to Neil Kinnock, the Commissioner in charge of administrative reform, saying she was being victimised at work for speaking out and that a “cover-up” was taking place. . .”

    – from:

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