Counter-Propaganda.com

The actual mission of the European Union (3) – boosting corruption

22 05 2005

the end, the beginning

European Union membership turned Lithuania into the most corrupt state in Europe. EU boosts corruption not only by destroying law and democracy, but also by means of its regulatory and redistribution policies.

Lithuania has become the most corrupt state in Europe

According to the Transparency International, Lithuania in terms of corruption has left far behind not only the other members of the EU, but also all the ‘wrong’ European countries such as Russia or Belarus.

question

With which politician or bureaucrat is it easier to negotiate development of the European Union?

With a corrupt one

With an honest one

Makes no difference

The annual survey of 2004 showed that as many as 32 percent of Lithuanians had encountered corruption personally – either they or their family members with whom they live had paid a bribe during the year that had passed. In Albania, the second ‘best’ European country, there were only 30 percent of such people, in Russia – 21 percent.

In terms of corruption, Lithuania should be given an Olympic medal too. According to the above-mentioned survey of the Transparency International, it shares the third place in the world with Nigeria, and could proudly take the podium beside Kenya and Cameroon, the world champion in corruption.Transparency International - World corruption barometer, 2004

Lithuania reached the peak of corruption just having joined the European Union

The outbreak of corruption in Lithuania coincided exactly with the time it became a member of the EU. Lithuania attained EU membership after many years of scrupulously following various economic and political orders by the EU Commission. Therefore, Lithuania’s integration into the European Union has been beyond doubt at least one of the decisive corruption-boosting factors.

Corruption related to the distribution of the various EU support has become one of the most popular issues with the Lithuanian media; it is not, however, considered a problem to be tackled any longer.

Corruption related to the distribution of the various EU support has become one of the most popular issues with the Lithuanian media; it is not, however, considered a problem to be tackled any longer. Corruption has been accepted as the indispensable reality of being a member of the EU.

The most popular media topics are ‘who takes most?’, ‘how much?’, ‘how much does one have to pay for writing a “suitable“ project to a “specialized company“ in order to get some EU support?’ (reportedly, about twenty percent of the project value).

Lithuania’s relationship with the European Union does not seem any special, however. Lithuania is the first or second poorest member of the EU; therefore, it is more susceptible to various EU influences. For this reason, the outcomes of being a member of the EU can be discerned more easily here; however, all the basic EU policies and impacts are the same in Lithuania as in all the other member states.

The European Union promotes corruption in many different ways

As it was described in the previous articles in this series, EU membership undermines democracy and the rule of law. Absence of democratic control makes politicians and bureaucrats always feel safe. In some EU member states, especially in Lithuania, there always exists the famous magic phrase ‘What would Europe think of us?’ that successfully prevents even the most brazen corruption cases from going to court.

EU membership undermines democracy and the rule of law, thus, nothing is more conducive to corruption than the sense of impunity!

The tradition to ignore the law in every case when it is needed for ‘making Europe’, for instance, adopting and implementing some EU laws that are clearly harmful for the people, or illegally ratifying the ‘Constitution for Europe’, makes politicians and bureaucrats feel omnipotent. Thus, nothing is more conducive to corruption than the sense of impunity!

However, there are other important factors related to the constitution of the EU itself. The system of various EU funds and programs, the clumsy EU institutional structure, and the strict and often irrelevant EU standards and regulations create an especially favourable environment for corruption.

Abundant funds and programmes

The Common Agricultural Policy and the countless structural funds and specialized programmes of the European Union mean that there are huge sums of money taken from the member states and then redistributed by the EU officials and national bureaucrats simultaneously, and nobody in fact bears any real responsibility for the fate of the money.

There are huge sums of money taken from the member states and then redistributed by the EU officials and national bureaucrats simultaneously, and nobody in fact bears any real responsibility for the fate of the money.

Most investigators of the euro-corruption dare to claim only about ten percent of the EU budget to be subject to fraud. In contrast, the absolute majority of Lithuanians do not believe at all that the EU support could be distributed transparently and effectively.

Every new EU fund or programme means new positions created in the administrations of both the European Union and national governments. Because of the expected further development of the EU, not only new corruption opportunities will appear, but also tens of thousands of new bureaucrats will be produced, and certain statistical percentage of them will go corrupt anyway.

The mysterious constitution of the EU executive institutions

The EU Commission has the reputation of a very complex and non-transparent structure. Its uncontrollable accounting practices and the so-called ‘commitology’ – impressive numbers of its semi-secret committees and commissions that cannot be controlled from the outside – make the Commission resemble a super lodge of Freemasons rather than a democratic political institution.

The uncontrollable accounting practices of the EU Commission and the so-called ‘commitology’ make the Commission resemble a super lodge of Freemasons rather than a democratic political institution.

The main political EU institutions have in fact limited powers to control the Commission. The EU Parliament plays actually a rather symbolic role in the EU policy; the European Council is engaged in strategic and ideological affairs and usually pays little attention to everyday businesses.

Internal institutional control is practically absent in EU institutions

There is small probability of effective insider control in most EU institutions. Being an EU career bureaucrat is considered an extremely honourable social position; it means not only life-long tax exemptions, but also many other privileges. It takes lots of effort to become an EU public servant, thus, some people spend their entire lives striving to achieve this.

Most EU bureaucrats highly appreciate their office, and they never speak badly about the European Union in public; – those who still decide on such a ‘blasphemy’ usually have to abandon their careers.

Therefore, most EU bureaucrats highly appreciate their office, and they never speak badly about the European Union in public. Those who still decide on such a ‘blasphemy’ usually have to abandon their careers, as it happened in the cases of Marta Andreasen, former Head of the EU Commission’s accounts department, and Robert McCoy, once internal auditor at the Committee of the Regions. Their life stories have shown that an EU bureaucrat who is going to speak about corruption in the EU institutions has to be ready to face even insults and moral harassment from their former bosses and colleagues.Jens-Peter Bonde’s list of cases

This way, the EU bureaucracy resembles a religious sect, or an organisation of Freemasons, or even an Indian cast, which spends lots of time and money to boost its power and image. Therefore, potential EU corruption scandals are most likely to be covered up and never reach publicity. It would be difficult to imagine a climate that could be more favourable to corruption.

Infeasible EU standards and regulations make businesspersons resort to corruption

The qualitative majority vote in the EU legislature process inevitably produces numerous losers. When the Greens or any lobbyists manage to push through any ambitious environmental or other EU regulation, even popularly supported in the whole European Union, there usually are some countries, areas, or industries for which the regulation would mean economic disaster and countless bankruptcies if it were implemented. Even the most honest people, having fallen victim to Europe-wide regulations, have to look for some new business methods in order to survive.

Naturally, the salvation of the businesspersons in trouble is corruption. They have to bribe their local regulators and supervisors. Usually they also have to bribe the inspectors at the regional level and, if necessary, some people at the EU regulation centre. Nothing is immoral in such corruption, usually aimed to rescue traditional industries and thousands of workplaces. It is the price to be paid for the Europe-wide laws.

Eurostat

Most of the EU corruption scandals that have gained publicity so far were related to Eurostat. The EU agency collects statistics in the EU member states according to which the economic performance of the EU members and their compliance with their various obligations to the EU are assessed and the financial support from the EU structural funds is distributed by the EU Commission and its specialized agencies. Eurostat is responsible for providing the macroeconomic data that the European Central Bank uses for the formation of the EU monetary policy.

The hasty ratification of the ‘Constitution for Europe’ in some EU member states also look suspicious, especially in Greece, having in mind its well known traditions of falsifying macroeconomic data.

The companies or even regions that need the EU money so much that they could even take the risk of faking certain official data certainly are ready to pay fortunes to persuade Eurostat to turn a blind eye to their manipulations.

Therefore, the very nature of Eurostat makes it a perfect place for various dirty businesses. Successful faking of regional statistics can yield huge sums of structural EU support, a nice part of which can be given back to certain EU bureaucrats in exchange for their ‘services’.

The states that decide to fake the official macroeconomic data in order to formally fulfil the ‘Convergence criteria’ and, thus, to avoid big fines should be ready to compensate some EU officials for keeping silence. There is no need for immediate financial transfers, however.

They understand very well the urgent need for a rapid EU development, and they never protest when they are told that their compatriots must pay for it
President Valdas Adamkus and 
Chairman of the Seimas Arturas Paulauskas together with the Thirteenth Government of Lithuania

In the case of Lithuania, the hasty paralegal ratification of the EU constitution resembles a token of gratitude for leaving ‘unnoticed’ the faked budgetary statistics as it was mentioned in the previous article of the series. Therefore, the hasty ratification of the ‘Constitution for Europe’ in the other EU member states also look suspicious, especially in Greece, having in mind its well known traditions of falsifying macroeconomic data.Wikipedia: The falsification of Greek accounts

Isn’t it easier to negotiate with corrupt politicians and bureaucrats?

Corruption seems to be of great use for various fanatic ‘makers of Europe’ as a means of making the member states sacrifice the well-being of their people for ambitious political aims of doubtful value.

Perhaps the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are the actual ‘jewels in the crown of Europe’.

Perhaps the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are the actual ‘jewels in the crown of Europe’, as they much better understand the urgent need for a rapid EU development, and they never protest when they are told that their compatriots must pay for it.

What do you think about it?


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