Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament

6 January 2021, Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament

Question Mr. Jeroen Lenaers, Member of the European Parliament

I would like to raise a very serious case that is not necessarily related to the 2019 discharge, but it is about the issue of a whistle-blower, Roelie Post, a former staff member at DG Enlargement who worked on accession. And she was instrumental in solving significant shortcomings in the area of child protection.
But this came at a high price. She became the subject of intimidation, threats, she had to retract herself from Brussels and even went into hiding.

The European Commission not only refused to offer solid protection for Ms. Post, but even turned against her by imposing financial and disciplinary measures, starting invalidity procedures on psychiatric grounds, and even seconding her to a newly established NGO that was set up for this purpose, which was unheard of.

I have written to you, Madam, about the situation. You have answered me that the administrative situation has been handled by the Commission through the appropriate procedures. However, these procedures then contained serious flaws and thus Ms. Post today still suffers from the mental impact caused by this situation.

We hear a lot of words from the European Commission when it comes to the protection of whistle-blowers. First Vice-President Timmermans made strong statements about how great whistle-blowers are, but apparently this only counts when those whistle-blowers are not from the Commission themselves.

I strongly believe the Commission has a duty to act. Your predecessor has made a commitment to Members of this Parliament, and to Ms. Post to come to a special and a humane solution to the situation. But unfortunately, none of these commitments have led to any result.

So, my question is: are you aware of those commitments that were made by your predecessor to ensure a special and humane solution for Ms. Post and what action are you willing to undertake, or willing to discuss, to make sure that the Commission actually lives up to those commitments to make sure that we find a solution to this difficult situation.
Thank you very much.

Reply Ms. Ilze Juhansone, Secretary-General of the European Commission

I will start with the question of Mr. Lenaers on the particular case of Mrs. Post. I am afraid we cannot go very much into details. It contains sensitive personal data. As you mentioned, there has been an agreement to find a solution to this very particular situation.
What I would like to stress on this occasion is that during the process the whole situation was handled in line with the rules and procedures of the staff regulation and financial regulation and the Commission has made clear that her full rights, and it has been done in an impartial and fair treatment and she had access to legal remedies.

There was agreement that all efforts will be put in place to find a solution for this particular situation. And as I mentioned for reasons of privacy and personal data, but I can still say at this stage that following her retro-active retirement from the Commission Mrs. Post is receiving pension in full compliance with the staff regulation. I am always ready to meet with you and to go more in details. I am fully available on the case, as you know.

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