The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) threatened to oust all
the 20 Commissioners last week, after refusing to sign off the European
Commission (EC) budget.
There was never any doubt in the press that the EC was guilty of fraud,
mismanagement, nepotism and secrecy. Defining the extent of
mismanagement, as attempted by a lonely letter from the EC to the Times,
was not effective.
In the event, the dismissal of the Commissioners was avoided, but the EC
was shaken by the MEPs’ low vote.
Was the parliament’s threat to the EC a victory or a cop-out? The
negative press balance reflects the politics of the papers. But on both
left and right, there was disappointment that the tone of Jacques
Santer’s statements before and after the vote should have been so
What did seem to unite all the press, however, was a desire to have a
European parliament with a stronger democratic mandate and powers.
Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Cuttings supplied by the
Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers Say’ can be found at: