On 14 June 2012, the Commission answered my earlier question about Commissioner De Gucht (E‑004102/2012). Mr Barroso refuses to answer my questions, a point which is duly noted. However, Mr Barroso does state that Commissioner De Gucht received an annual subsidy of EUR 1 500 to pay a consultant on the production of biodynamic wine.
1. The Commissioner used to be (and possibly still is?) a shareholder in the business which applied for the subsidy. Thus the Commissioner effectively applied for a subsidy for himself. Does the Commission agree with the PVV that it is idiotic for a Commissioner to apply for, or receive, a European subsidy of EUR 1 500 for the above purpose when he could simply have paid this amount out of his own pocket? Does this not very much smack of a conflict of interests and self-enrichment?
2. The Commission states that it does not wish to comment on the current fraud investigation by the Belgian tax authorities concerning Mr De Gucht. What is the exact reason for this?
3. Was the Commission in general and Mr Barroso in particular aware of the possibility that Mr Gucht might be investigated when he applied for, and took, the post of Commissioner? Did Mr De Gucht indicate during his hearing at the European Parliament that an investigation concerning him was being prepared or was already in progress?
4. Will the Commission take measures to make it impossible for people who have committed tax fraud to become Commissioners in future?