Letter: EU whistleblower

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The claim that I "want to purge the lower and middle ranks of the EU civil service" is quite untrue ("Whistleblower set to tangle with Kinnock", 9 December). I have no such ambition.

It is also wrong to say that "15,000 [European Commission] staffers voted for" Paul van Buitenen. In the recent Staff Representative Committee election the number of valid votes cast was 10,212. Mr van Buitenen's union received 24 per cent. Congratulations to him and to the other 26 people elected from all unions.

Mr van Buitenen did not "incriminate" anyone with his action last December. That action did, however, mean the public disclosure of documents relating to cases which were the subject of disciplinary and legal proceedings already being undertaken by the European Commission. Those disclosures created the serious risk that the cases that were being pursued could be compromised as a result of a breach in the sub judice rule. The Commission rightly concluded, however, that the offence was mitigated by deficiencies in the relevant rules in force at the time, and the fact that the information was sent to a Member of the European Parliament. The penalty consequently imposed on Mr van Buitenen was a reprimand - the second most moderate sanction available.

Mr van Buitenen was not "reinstated at a lower grade" following his suspension. He was reinstated at the same grade and suffered no loss of seniority, pay or entitlements.


Vice-President of the European Commission