Hundreds of thousands of European patients use a Philips apnea device that might be making them ill. Philips promised to replace the devices, but declines to say how many have so far been replaced in each EU country. Follow the Money contacted all European supervisors and discovered that Philips’ replacement effort hasn’t yet properly got under way everywhere. So far, only France has taken a tough stance. They do so with the risk of putting patients in other countries at a disadvantage.
The European Parliament and the European Commission no longer want to be targeted by lobbyists from Russian companies. For months now, the Council of the European Union, chaired by France, has ignored this cry for help.
Ada Homolová & Peter Teffer
Members of the European Parliament receive a monthly allowance of 4778 euros for office expenditure, but there is no supervision on how they spend this money. Since 2019, MEPs can use the Parliament’s website to publicly declare that they have spent their taxpayers’ money legitimately. Less than 4 percent of the 705 MEPs made use of that opportunity.
Documents show that civil servants in the European Commission have raised questions about its rules on preserving information, with some calling them ‘vague’ and others suggesting there should be a way to preserve instant messages. In the context of the Commission’s refusal to release text messages sent by its president to the CEO of Pfizer, the documents put the Commission’s official position on such messages in a different perspective.
Hans-Martin Tillack & Peter Teffer
EU member states and the European Commission negotiated behind closed doors on how to spend the Covid-19 recovery fund’s 723.8 billion euros. Journalists from across the bloc requested that the Commission provide insight into those discussions. But even though it pays lip service to the importance of transparency, the Commission is refusing to disclose hundreds of documents.
Finnish professor of European law Päivi Leino-Sandberg has written a book about the invisible players in the Brussels equation: the legal advisors of the EU institutions. They are indispensable in the legal underpinning of further steps in European integration. However, according to Leino-Sandberg, they do not serve the general interest but rather their employer’s: the EU institution.
Lise Witteman & Peter Teffer
The EU has set up a 723.8 billion euro recovery fund to help member states boost their post-pandemic economy. But there is a lack of democratic oversight on how those European billions will be spent. National parliaments have had limited involvement in the reform plans required to unlock the funds, a pan-European investigation reveals.
The President of the European Parliament has ordered an investigation into whether members of an informal Chinese ‘friendship group’ violated integrity rules. But was that group, despite all its efforts, of any use to China at all?
Jorge Domecq, former chief executive at the European Defence Agency (EDA), started his new job as lobbyist for defence corporation Airbus before having received the required authorisation from the EU. By doing so, Domecq broke EDA staff rules that are meant to prevent conflicts of interests.
In a Europe without borders, a virus spreads more easily than elsewhere. Although the EU has acknowledged this fact on several occasions, member states do not want to relinquish their sovereignty in the field of public health. The EU agency established after SARS is but a shadow of its American counterpart.