Brussels rules out Mandelson investigation

The European Commission today attempted to draw a line under the growing clamour for full disclosure about Peter Mandelson's official contacts during his four years as the EU's Trade Commissioner.

Officials in Brussels said there were no grounds for an official investigation into Mr Mandelson's behaviour, and insisted they would not make public the list of high-level professional links which would reveal the extent of his relationship with aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska.

And although there are strict rules under the Commission's code of conduct about entertainment and the registration of gifts, Commissioners do not have to declare or register what they do or who they spend time with on holiday.

A Commission spokesman said: "It is for Mr Mandelson to decide if he wishes to provide a list of his social engagements.

"The Commission's position remains clear that we are not aware of circumstances suggesting any breach of rules or a conflict of interest.

"No evidence for such claims has been brought forward. The Commission considers therefore that there are no grounds for an investigation."

In the last fortnight the most senior Commission official in Mr Mandelson's department, Trade Director-General David O'Sullivan, has issued a statement insisting Mr Mandelson had not unduly interfered in decisions on aluminium imports which benefited Mr Deripaska to the tune of millions of pounds a year.

But the demand for more details from Brussels about Mr Mandelson's dealings as Trade Commissioner has refused to go away.

Officials admitted today there has been "corridor talk" in the Commission about whether records of Mr Mandelson's meetings and contacts should be revealed - but no formal meetings on the issue.

But there is deep frustration inside the Commission that Brussels is unwittingly being drawn into what is being seen as an issue involving Mr Mandelson's social contacts and nothing to do with his Commission work.

The spokesman said: "The Director-General for Trade has categorically set out that all the decisions (on EU trade policy) that have been subject to some press speculation were reached in an entirely standard and routine manner and there was no political interference whatsoever by Peter Mandelson.

"Let's remember that these decisions were taken in a transparent manner and were endorsed by not only all 27 commissioners but also all member states."

The EU's current code of conduct for commissioners was drawn up in the wake of a scandal in which the entire team of commissioners resigned in 1999 over the way French Commissioner Edith Cresson appointed a close friend - a dentist - to a well-paid job as an EU adviser. The rules were updated in 2004.

The current code says commissioners have to register any gift with a value of more than 150 euro (120 pounds) and must declare meals made for by third parties or that the value can be deducted from the daily allowances when "on mission" - travelling on business.

But there are no general rules on "hospitality", which is covered in a catch-all declaration that "obviously the general rules of ethics and integrity apply".

The code states: "The general interest requires that in their official and private lives commissioners should behave in a manner that is in keeping with the dignity of their office. Ruling out all risks of a conflict of interests helps to guarantee their independence."

Article 213 (2) of the EU Treaty requires that commissioners give a solemn undertaking that "both during and after their term of office they will respect the obligations arising therefore and in particular their duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments and benefits" .

Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EYFS Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require an ex...

Year 3 Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special educational ne...

Regional ESF Contract Manager

£32500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Birmingham: European Social Fund...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home