The European Commission consists of twenty appointed members including a Commission President, and serves primarily as a policy initiator and administrator for the European Union. Allegations of corruption had long surrounded the Commission and, through a series of events, an independent panel of experts was charged with the duty of investigating specific allegations of corruption. On March 16, 1999, the independent panel issued a scathing report of a "sad catalog of negligence and mismanagement" by the Commissioners. This report not only identified individual instances of mismanagement, cronyism, nepotism, and fraud but also excoriated the Commission for lacking "even the slightest sense of responsibility." As a result, in an unprecedented and sensational move, the entire Commission resigned immediately. The European Commission's inherent structure may encourage governmental abuses, inefficiency, and corruption, and the author discusses the deficiencies of this structure. In light of these deficiencies, the author reviews a variety of recommendations posited by the panel of independent experts and other critics for increasing accountability and preventing corruption. Of these, she concludes that the creation of an Independent Prosecutor's Office would be pivotal in the curbing of corruption by increasing the efficiency and accountability of the Commission.
Recommendations for the Curbing of Corruption, Cronyism, Nepotism, & Fraud in the European Commission,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.