You don’t mess with Monica Macovei. I’ve met her, and she strikes me as one of the most strident and outspoken politicians to be found in the European Parliament, building upon a two year stint as Romania’s Minister of Justice during the period prior to accession.

So when Macovei says that budget discharge should not be granted to 3 EU agencies – the European Environment Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the European Food Safety Agency – people rightly sit up and listen. The whole story is explained in more depth by EUObserver here. The main part of Macovei’s case is the conflicts of interest in the three agencies relating to the way they employ staff, and what these staff do afterwards.

I really do not understand the position of the S&D group in all of this. German S&D MEP Jutta Haug was harsh in her critique of Macovei, and I also had a Twitter exchange with S&D Budgetary Control Committee coordinator Jens Geier, shown in the screenshot. More from him in the S&D press release here. To muddy the waters still further, the European Commission has today announced it wants to do something about the revolving door issue for EFSA.

Here, as in so much of how the EU does its business, it’s fiendishly hard to work out what’s going on. There is no denial that there is a problem with these agencies, yet why then is the critique of Macovei so vehement? Strikes me that there must be more to this than meets the eye of us, the outsiders.

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