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Samizdata quote of the day – €uro-corruption edition

In this sense, the problem of EU corruption, rather than being a bug in the system, should be seen as an inherent consequence of the supranationalisation of politics. Making the EU “more democratic” won’t change the fact that the lack of a European demos represents an insurmountable obstacle to the creation of a European democracy, even if Brussels was interested in going in that direction (which it isn’t). The number of corrupt officials involved in the amateurish Qatargate scandal is of little importance; for the EU, it is already too late.

Thomas Fazi

14 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – €uro-corruption edition

  • Steven R

    As an American, I can only laugh at the European corruption and legalized bribery. No, not because it’s horrific, but because it’s amateur hour over there. We’ve had legalized bribing of Congressmen and senior administration figures and military for over a century. Campaign contributions that don’t get spent, pork and no bid contracts going to family members of sitting Congressmen, retiring officers going to industry board of directors, family members with no experience taking multimillion dollar consultation jobs, K Street, legal insider trading for members of Congress, freezers full of cash, career politicians that go to DC with nothing but the clothes on their backs who retire multi-millionaires on a public salary, we’ve seen it all.

    So long as they don’t get caught with a live boy or a dead girl, the sky’s the limit.

  • Stonyground

    The EU does have a thing where they have their accounts audited every year and the auditors refuse to sign off the accounts and the EU accountants say ok, no problem, see you next year guys. There is no control over spending whatsoever so anyone inside the system can just stuff their pockets. The politicians in the system are mostly people who failed to get people to vote for them in their home countries. The EU is an ideal home for such folk, none of that inconvenient getting elected required.

  • djm

    Kinnochio, N , some 18 years ago was charged to bring some credibility to the EU after a mahoosive corruption scandal.

    True to form, Kinnochio huffed & puffed, but did nowt to change anything.

    Which of course has nothing to do with his eye watering payoff from Burssels, which totalled close to £10 million…….

  • Mr Ed

    In the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, Douglas Adams wrote (IIRC) ‘…It has been said that Vogons not above a little bribery and corruption in the same way that the sea is not above the clouds‘.

    But let us remember that they are trying to build a New Europe, just as the Vogons had to demolish Earth to make a galactic by-pass.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes the European Union is horribly corrupt – so are many governments, including the United States government and a government much closer to home.

    Remember corruption may not mean simple bribery – allowing officials (many in “independent authorities”) and corporations to vastly profit at the expense of the taxpayers, is also corruption.

    Moral cowardice – saying nothing when one sees the taxpayers being looted, enterprises being regulated to destruction, and people being killed by toxic injections, is also corruption.

  • Andrew Carey

    The people in the EU who set up the structure where the EU Parliament is of no consequence are gifted by genius.
    The public relations arm of the Qatar government, and maybe others, has bunged them money for being nobodies showing at least some favourability to Qatari soft power.

    But Qatar has all the hard power anyone could need, in exporting a blooming useful despatchable and desirable product with around 4/10ths the CO2 emissions of wood chips and coal.

    I don’t know who is due the kudos here, possibly the EU Parliament officials for going so long without being found out.

  • Kirk

    There are two paths to ending the “problem” of bribery and influence-peddling. One would be to eliminate the power sinks that drive all of this, and the other would be to put it all out in the open.

    Of the two, I think the “Put it into the open…” would be the most amusing. Want legislation passed in you or your company’s benefit? Fine; open bidding should take place. Highest bidder wins; money goes to the Treasury to pay off debt, and a cut goes to the politician who brought the lucre in.

    They’re gonna do it, anyway. Get it out into the open, where it’s visible, and you can root for General Dynamics or whoever to get the contracts or whatever else is up for grabs. You want social legislation? Fine; your interest group pays for it. Legalize marijuana? You pay for your play. If the social conservatives want to ban it more than you want to legalize it, let them pay more. Should your idea prove to be a disaster, then the law reverts and you lose all your money.

    The way we run government as this Simon-pure ideal system is flawed; the people are crooked, so why shouldn’t the institutions match? Put it all out there, and let the various parties duke it out. If you’re the CEO at Disney, and spend billions trying to get Disney-benefiting policies put in, only to have them backfire on you and you actually wind up losing money? Let your consequences flow forth.

    If it were all out in the open, then at least we’d know who was doing what to whom, rather than this line of idealistic BS we are constantly barraged with.

  • Paul Marks

    Steven R. sadly you are out of date.

    As Dr Johnson pointed out “a man is seldom so innocently engaged as when he is after money” – as other motives will lead men, and women, to do much worse things.

    As for live boys and dead girls – either will get someone a promotion in the Biden Administration and the applause of the media for how “stunning and brave” you are.

    Become a leftist and you can do anything – anything at all, including killing babies and sexually mutilating children, and you will be rewarded for what you do. All the darkest fantasies that humans are capable of – will be celebrated and rewarded, if you are a leftist.

    The “moral chains of right and wrong” will fall from you – and you will be “free” – free as long as you do evil.

    It really is that bad – we have really reached that stage. And all the institutions of society, secular and religious, welcome and celebrate those who do such evils.

    It is those who oppose the evils who are punished – and things are going to get a lot worse for those who try and oppose evil.

  • Lee Moore

    As Paul Marks says, if you’re a Dem, live boys or dead girls are fine these days. The only thing that could do for you is if the dead girl was trans, and you foolshly blurted out that “she” was really a he. No way back from that.

    But if you’re a Republican, a wide stance in a public toilet is quite enough.

  • The EU does have a thing where they have their accounts audited every year and the auditors refuse to sign off the accounts and the EU accountants say ok, no problem, see you next year guys. (Stonyground, December 19, 2022 at 6:04 pm).

    The EU have an additional trick: have an auditor position highly visible in the organisation chart, with duties well defined, but do not actually fill it with a real person. More than a decade ago, an experienced auditor (son of a friend of mine) found himself being interviewed by none other than Peter Mandelson for an EU accountant job he was very qualified for. He did not get it and neither did others – Peter kept the position empty for a long time. I assumed none of the candidates met Peter’s demanding standards of dishonesty.

    ASIDE: I went on the web just now to confirm I’d spelt Mandelson correctly and think I must have chanced to click on the ‘Mandelson Epstein’ completion as all the listed stories were about that. The near-top headline asked “What attracted Peter Mandelson to Jeffrey Epstein?” below which, I saw the Daily Mail’s story with the picture of Jeffrey and Peter shopping together (perhaps Jeffrey’s wealth was sufficient in Peter’s case).

    One of my reasons for Brexit was the desire to escape the EU’s more corrupt culture, and I still strongly believe this, but when I recall that it was the UK that sent them Mandelson, I have to be realistic in describing the difference.

  • Paul Marks

    In Spain there used to be “counter signers” – every time taxpayer money was spent the signature of the person in charge of that area of policy was NOT enough, an auditor had to sign the spending off as well (in advance – not after the fact), or the spending did not happen.

    However, that was under the evil dictatorship of Franco when the Spanish did terrible things – such as give birth to babies (unlike the slow motion genocide of today), the new system in Spain got rid of counter signers (ironically this was presented as a measure to rid of wasteful spending – the salaries of the auditing counter signers), and corrupt government spending exploded.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The most blatant corruption in the EU, in my (apparently unfashionable) opinion, has nothing to do with these issues of petty material gain, but with the extent of arbitrary power that the French President and the German Chancellor wield over the rest of the EU — including the French and German peoples.

    That was displayed for all to see when Sarkozy threw a fit during a meeting with Merkel, and they subsequently bullied the rest of the Eurozone to cancel the no-bailout clause of the “stability” and “growth” pact.

    (NB: even Nigel Farage did not remark on this display of arbitrary power: instead, he made the blatantly false claim that the Greeks were “forced” to accept a loan from the rest of the Eurozone.)

    The fact that Sarkozy and Merkel did not have anything to gain personally, does not make this arbitrary power any less corrupt in my book.

    (Less blatant, but arguably even more corrupt, is the arbitrary power of unaccountable Eurocrats.)

  • SteveD

    The more powerful the government, the more incentive for public officials to be corrupt.

  • Corruption exists at a high level only because people accept the corruption. They think they can personnaly enjoy it, if necessary.