Perhaps the most striking oversight of the Barroso address delivered in Strasbourg on Tuesday was the complete absence of the theme of corruption in the EU.
In a year that has seen Europe’s common currency shaken to its very foundations by the turmoil of the corruption-fuelled Greek crisis, this omission on the part of the Commission seems foolhardy at the very least, and in its implications is even dangerously negligent…
What kind of example can this set for other countries facing systemic corruption problems?
Perhaps most starkly of all it exposes the gaping gap between the important (anti-corruption) conditions being placed on EU Accession candidates as well as recent joiners such as Bulgaria and Romania, on the one hand, and older EU member states, on the other.
Barroso’s address was an opportunity to express a serious political commitment against corruption in the EU and to tackling this glaring shortcoming of Community policy.
At a time when expansion of Community competence is approaching swiftly (Lisbon Treaty), the Commission’s failure even to mention the threat of corruption throws into question the Commission’s credibility as the impartial and decisive actor it claims to be.