- The Washington Times - Friday, June 11, 2004

BRUSSELS — Opponents of European integration made their first big breakthrough in the European elections yesterday with the victory of Paul van Buitenen, the Dutch whistleblower whose revelations brought down the European Commission in 1999.

Catching the Dutch press off guard, Mr. van Buitenen’s new Europa Transparent Party won 7.3 percent of the national vote, securing two of the country’s 27 seats in the European Parliament.

A total of 732 representatives were being chosen Europewide in four days of voting that began Thursday in Britain and the Netherlands and runs through Sunday.

Starved of press coverage and excluded from televised debates, Mr. van Buitenen relied on word of mouth and the Internet to spread his message.

Mr. van Buitenen triggered the resignation of the European Commission for fraud, nepotism and dirty tricks. The commission acts as the executive branch of the EU government.

He was an auditor at the time and was suspended on half pay and disciplined for breaching staff rules by revealing abuses to lawmakers in the European Parliament after his superiors tried to cover them up.

He has carried on the fight, claiming that nothing has changed under the new team and that the villains of the 1999 scandal have been shielded by the old-boy network in Brussels, in some cases moving to top posts.

He will now have a staff, ample resources and a platform on the parliament’s budget watchdog. “I know all the questions that have to be asked and I’m going to get some answers,” he said.

Dutch voters have become increasingly vexed about Brussels, now that they are the biggest net contributors to the EU budget.

Sensing the new mood, the Dutch government has begun demanding the “repatriation” of farm aid and regional funds, which make up 80 percent of EU spending.

A new book by Mr. van Buitenen, “In The Brussels Trenches,” is a scathing indictment of reforms by Neil Kinnock, the commission vice-president in charge of the Eurocracy — and briefly his boss.

Mr. Kinnock took over in 1999 pledging to pull the commission out of 40 years of “frozen bureaucracy,” but the book accuses him of shielding miscreants and preserving the system of fiefdoms run by EU insiders to suit themselves.

“Neil Kinnock is the real antagonist of my book. His reforms are a huge hoax. There’s no use putting new rules in place when the real problem is total failure to enforce the rules we already had,” Mr. van Buitenen said.

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