Committee seeks legal advice on review of Cardiff rejection

Tue, Nov 29, 2011, 00:00

THE CHAIRMAN of the European Parliament committee which rejected the nomination of Kevin Cardiff to the EU’s audit body is seeking legal advice on the possibility of reviewing that decision.

Dutch liberal Jan Mulder said the MEPs’ vote against Mr Cardiff, secretary general of the Department of Finance, was not on the formal agenda for a meeting today of the budgetary control committee. However, he suggested the matter was still likely to be raised when MEPs discuss “miscellaneous” business.

The committee voted by a margin of 12 to 11 last week to reject Mr Cardiff’s nomination.

One day later it emerged that the centre-right and socialist co-ordinators on the committee had received disparaging emails about Mr Cardiff from Eoin O’Shea, Ireland’s outgoing member of the European Court of Auditors. Mr O’Shea has apologised but his intervention was not disclosed when MEPs questioned Mr Cardiff last week.

This has led to expectation that the committee will revisit his nomination.

However, Mr Mulder said he did not know whether the committee was empowered to do that or whether it would require a mandate from a plenary session of the parliament to go down that road.

“I have to look into that. I have to ask the legal services,” he said.

The committee’s rejection of Mr Cardiff’s nomination was seen as a major setback for the Government, which faced internal dissent over the nomination.

In ordinary circumstances the committee’s assessment of a nominee to the court would go directly to a full plenary vote of the parliament, which has never before overturned the opinion of the committee.

Mr Mulder said he still awaited documentation from Dublin on Mr O’Shea’s emails, which were disclosed at a hearing of the Oireachtas committee on European affairs.

He added that he may ask the MEPs themselves to provide the information about the emails.