A few days ago, French daily Liberation published yet another article about the financial scandal in EU institutions involving European People’s Party (EPP) politicians. The party, which has been led by Donald Tusk since 2019, is coming under new pressure as a result of the fresh scrutiny, but Tusk remains inexplicably silent despite the mounting allegations.
Following a long investigation, the article’s author accused European Court of Justice (ECJ) President judge Koen Lenaerts and other important EU officials associated with the EPP of a conflict of interest and trafficking of influence of ECJ judges.
The accused were to have participated in meetings illegally paid for from public funds between 2010 and 2018. The meetings’ organizers were Karl Pixten, a former auditor at the European Court of Auditors (who was recently convicted of financial fraud) and several Brussels lobbyists.
The then President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker, former Vice President of the Commission Jyrki Katainen and current EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn were to also said to have taken part in these meetings.
As the journalist for LIberation writes, it is telling that the European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen’s leadership, along with the authorities of several countries whose governments are dominated by key EPP parties, are accused of pressuring the European Anti‑Fraud Office (OLAF) to not conduct an investigation into the matter.
In fact, such an investigation has never taken place despite the first articles on the subject appearing a long time ago. Moreover, important positions in OLAF itself were taken over by EPP-connected activists.
From the looks of it, it seems that high-ranking politicians in EU institutions connected to the EPP are trying to cover up the scandal, which is becoming more evident if we look at the pressure placed on the OLAF itself to ook the other way.
Tusk remains silent
It is surprising that despite the scandal being detailed in a leading French paper and by a renowned journalist, Donald Tusk has not commented on it. While it is true that the meetings took place between 2010-2018 when Tusk and his Civic Platform (PO) were only EPP members, Tusk himself had held one of the most important EU positions based off of an EPP recommendation from 2014. He was the President of the European Council for five years.
Immediately after leaving that position, he was chosen as EPP president and continues to hold that position since his return to Polish politics in July 2021.
Tusk has been attacking Law and Justice (PiS) basically every day, has accused the Polish government of many of the world’s evils, and claims that it is pro-Putin government. Despite this behavior, Tusk has not found the time to comment on the scandal or even announce that he will immediately deal with the matter or demand explanations from the officials mentioned in the article.
Following the departure of Tusk’s benefactor, Angela Merkel, from the German government and effectively politics itself, he has little to say in Brussels and will most likely lose his position in spring 2022.
Nevertheless, he continues to lead the EPP, and articles which humiliate some of the most elite members of his group should not be met with silence. After all, this concerns the most important EU institutions in which these people hold leadership roles.
An even more important matter is the credibility of these institutions which are attacking Poland and other countries for not respecting the rule of law, all the while their leaders have conflicts of interest and are trafficking influence.