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Polish EU commissioner bid back on track

September 28, 2019

Janusz Wojciechowski has faced an investigation into expenses he filed but has now been cleared. All potential commissioners will be quizzed next week in the European Parliament before taking office on November 1.

Janusz Wojciechowski
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Warnand

The European Union's anti-fraud agency said Friday it would not proceed with disciplinary action against Poland's candidate for the European Commission, Janusz Wojciechowski, following an expenses probe.

The agency, known as OLAF, said it had concluded its investigation into Wojciechowski, who has been proposed as the next agriculture commissioner.

OLAF had looked into the Polish politician's travel and subsistence expenses from his 12-year tenure as an MEP. The agency concluded that Wojciechowski should pay back €11,243 ($12,298) based on travel declarations and attendance records, but that "no disciplinary or judicial recommendations have been made concerning Mr Wojciechowski in person."

OLAF also had good news for Belgium's candidate, Didier Reynders, as prosecutors said they had finished a corruption probe that found no evidence of wrongdoing. Reynders is hoping to become the justice commissioner.

Much-needed boost for von der Leyen

All of this will come as a relief for Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen after she suffered a setback when the potential commissioners from Romania and Hungary were deemed inappropriate by the European Parliament earlier this week.

Romania's Rovana Plumb was found by the parliament's legal committee to have conflicting financial interests while Hungary's Laszlo Trocsanyi's bid appears to be over due to concerns over ties to a law firm. The committee also found inconsistencies in their financial statements.

Parliamentary hearings are due to begin in earnest next week as von der Leyen's team takes shape ahead of taking office on November 1.

jsi/aw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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