Letter: Cleaning up the EU

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Paul Waugh reports that the Public Accounts Committee found, at the European Commission, a "lack of clarity about who is accountable to whom for what" ("EC still open to fraud and corruption, MPs warn", 25 August). This was graphically demonstrated by the Commission's response to Mr van Buitenen, the official who blew the whistle.

Three years ago in a report, Whistleblowing, Fraud and the European Union, commissioned by the European Commission, we recommended that the Commission improve the protection afforded to officials who blow the whistle. Those recommendations were clearly ignored.

If Neil Kinnock is to succeed in reforming the Commission and restoring public confidence, he must introduce adequate protection for whistleblowers. As long as officials are afraid to speak up, the culture that has allowed fraud and corruption to thrive will persist.

In the UK, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 provides protection against victimisation of staff who blow the whistle on corporate malpractice. The new Commission should follow our lead.

CHIDI KING

Senior Legal Officer

Public Concern at Work

London EC1

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