EU´s Sweetheart Deals and Corruption

The EU is notoriously a very corrupt organisation – as I have previously shown and here, here, here, here, here, here. here. – The Brussels Times 1 May 2015:
1) In 1999, Jacques Santer, the head of the European Commission, and his fellow commissioners, were forced to resign en masse over a corruption scandal.
2. The Galvin Report  was written at the end of 2006 as an audit of the expenses and allowances claimed by a sample of more than 160 MEPs. The existence of what was called “this shocking report” was kept secret until February 2008 when news of its existence was made public by ex-UK MEP Chris Davies. Even then, its contents remained secret and a select group of MEPs were only allowed to read the report individually in a locked and guarded room.
3.The former Austrian MEP Ernst Strasser and 2 more MEPs were convicted of attempting to change laws in the European Parliament on behalf of a business offering to pay him €100,000 a year .

There is an unwillingness or inability to take action against malpractice, fraud and corruption, which undermines public support for the EU.

There is ample evidence of companies and member states stealing EU money. But it is very difficult to find investigations into the EU Commission´s and its organs´accounts.And there may be a solid reason for that.

In 2004,  the EU Commission´s chief accountant, Marta Andreasen, refused to sign the Commission´s budgetbecause large missing sums were not accounted for. She was fired for whistleblowing after she refused to sign the Commission´s budget, where large missing sums were not accounted for. In 2011 as a representative of the British UKIP, she said in the EU Parliament:  “The EU speaks of probity but it is a byword for financial corruption and waste. As a political entity, the EU stinks to high heaven.

When I was Chief Accountant of the European Commission I experienced huge pressure to conceal the truth about EU expenditure and not voice any criticism. I can back up what Mr Engwirda said as I witnessed the arm-twisting of the auditors each time they attempted to reveal the failures in the EU accounting and control systems. They came under huge pressure to keep the accountancy fraud hushed up. In my opinion, the European Court of Auditors is not an independent body and cannot, therefore, be relied upon. The structural arrangement of the EU has allowed massive irregularities and waste in EU funding and I have absolutely no hope that this situation will ever change until Britain withdraws from the EU.”

EUObserver 7 Dec. 2016: Eurodad, a Brussels-based NGO, found that so-called sweetheart deals, elaborate schemes used to slash corporate global tax bills, increased by 50 percent in Luxembourg during the year following the scandal.

The report, released on Wednesday (7 December), analysed data from 17 EU states and Norway.
The November 2014 scandal revealed that Luxembourg had signed off secret deals with some 340 corporations from 2002 until 2010.
Billions of taxes had been diverted away from national coffers and back into corporate pockets. Some firms managed to get away with effective tax rates of less than 1 percent on profits.
Luxembourg, once presided over by EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, also remains one of the most secretive countries in the world.

Left from Russia Today video 2014

Another investigation in April linked some 10,000 offshore accounts to Luxembourg, following a massive leak of documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama.
The LuxLeaks scandal broke when Juncker took the top post at the EU Commission. Juncker has consistently denied any wrongdoing despite having governed the small landlocked nation for two decades.

“What comes under the term LuxLeaks, really what they are talking about is a kind of common practice in many member states. In fact, that is why I’d rather say EUleaks than Luxleaks,” he told MEPs in September last year.
Belgium’s tax deals increased by 248 percent in only one year.

The report notes that the number of sweetheart deals in the EU went from 547 in 2013, to 972 in 2014, and reached 1,444 by the end of 2015 or increase of 160 percent in just two years.
One study by the EU parliament in 2015 said such deals cost the EU up to €70 billion in lost tax revenue every year.
Earlier this year they ruled Apple had received €13 billion in illegal corporate tax benefits from Ireland.

It’s also looking into Luxembourg linked firms like Amazon, Engie [formally GDF Suez], and McDonald’s
The EU had launched anti-tax avoidance laws earlier this year but the rules were later weakened by member states.

TUA EU 2014: The EU Commission´s bribery is secret and beyond imagination.
TUAEU spokesman Brian Denny said that the commission was ‘beyond satire’ as it covered up abuses in its own institutions while trying to discredit member states. “This is a surreal tale that Franz Kafka would be proud of”.

Public procurement contracts demanded under EU competition rules are said to be the worst affected by corruption with up to a quarter of their value lost to corrupt practices.

Right: Lawyer Maria Marmieh of the EU´s Eulex whistleblowed corruption in this anticorruption unit – and was sacked.

Around 32 per cent of the companies who tendered public contracts say they lost the winning bid because of corruption, with construction and engineering firms the worst affected.

The original plan was to assess corruption across the member states and within the EU institutions.

However EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom only released details of corruption in member states on Feb 3 in the first bi-annual report around six months later than originally planned.

Malmstrom’s spokesperson Michael Cercone said that the commission had considered assessing EU’s own institutions but said that it would it be difficult to provide an objective self-evaluation because, unlike for member states, there are no independent external reviews the commission could draw on to evaluate its own institutions.
EU auditors have refused to sign off the EU’s annual accounts for nearly two decades because of widespread corruption.

Comment
This raises the question: Did officials/politicians in the EU system benefit from these secret agreements by having kickbacks?
When one looks at the careers of former Danish Finance Minister Bjarne Corydon, Former Danish prime Minister Anders Fog Rasnussen, José Barroso, one really gets a very strong suspicion of such secret kickbacks.

“Corrupt European countries costing EU £ £782bn a year, says study.
Estimate of total annual loss more than eight times higher than previous calculations. Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia are the most corrupt countries in the EU.
Britain is the sixth least corrupt country in Europe, behind Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, it says. Eastern European countries are all above the EU average (The Independent 22 march 2016).

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