The European Parliament today rejected the 2018 financial accounts of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) amid complaints over its handling of a harassment case.
In a resolution, MEPs criticized the EU body for failing to respond appropriately to longstanding harassment allegations and for failing to take steps to protect and support the victims of the alleged bullying, following a case involving Polish official Jacek Krawczyk. Krawczyk has denied any wrongdoing.
“Clearly when communicating with us regarding its various mistakes [the EESC] was not able to answer our questions and it was not able to take measures which would make us believe that this particular institution is able to protect the interests of European citizens,” said Czech lawmaker Tomáš Zdechovský from the European People’s Party (EPP).
The EESC’s failure to clear the so-called budget discharge procedure is largely a reputational blemish, although it could also influence negotiations on the annual budget allowances for EU institutions.
Zdechovský, who led the discharge procedure, said it was a “clear signal” that the Parliament would not tolerate institutions that fail to “treat European funds correctly.”
Parliament also declined to pass the 2018 accounts of the Council and the related European Council, as MEPs blasted the Council for “a lack of respect” because it “refused to cooperate in the discharge procedure.”
MEPs have rejected the Council’s budget for several years, but this year frustrations ran high as there had been hopes of a dialogue with Council.
“I regret that despite a significant effort and our willingness to talk to the Council and finally resolve the long-standing issue, we have not been able to find an agreement,” said Zdechovský. “The deadlock on Council discharge must be solved once and for all.”