Paul van Buitenen
Leader of Europe Transparent in the European Parliament
In office
20 July 2004 – 14 July 2009
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the European Parliament
In office
20 July 2004 – 14 July 2009
Personal details
Born (1957-05-28) 28 May 1957 (age 66)
Breda, Netherlands
Political partyEurope Transparent
Residence(s)Breda, Netherlands
Website(in Dutch)

Paul van Buitenen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈpʌul vɑm ˈbœytənə(n)]; born 28 May 1957)[1] is a retired Dutch politician of the Europe Transparent Party[2] who served as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009.

He was an assistant-auditor in the European Commission's Financial Control Directorate becoming the whistleblower who first drew the attention of a Member of the European Parliament to the irregularities, fraud and mismanagement within the Commission in 1998. In May 2005, he also asked the European Commission to create an investigation, after learning that Frits Bolkestein (author of the Directive on services in the internal market) was a member of the Russian Bank Menatep's international consultative council (owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky) and that he had worked for the Shell British-Dutch petrol company, two firms "detaining secret accounts in Clearstream".

1998 whistleblowing

His whistleblowing on 9 December 1998 indirectly led to the resignation of the Commission presided by Jacques Santer (who has also been prime minister of Luxembourg) and the fall of Édith Cresson. For this, he was suspended, had his salary halved and ordered to face disciplinary action.[citation needed] He fought on and the combination of his exposures with the public indignation of his treatment by the Commission triggered the collapse of Jacques Santer's Commission, of which Édith Cresson was particularly criticised.

Eventually he was – at least partially – forgiven and returned to the organisation, albeit in a different capacity. Nevertheless, he would later leave on 'unpaid leave' in order to pursue a political career.

He has been named 'European of the Year' by Reader's Digest magazine and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He donated his prize money to a fund in the Netherlands for helping other whistleblowers and in 1999 he wrote a book which reveals the whole story – followed by a sequel in 2004. The second book only came out in Dutch and German. An English version risked causing trouble with Commissioner Neil Kinnock.

2006 whistleblowing

On 26 April 2006, daily 20 Minutes revealed that "in May 2005, MEP Paul van Buitenen was shocked by Frits Bolkestein's presence to Menatep's international consultative council, a sulfurous Russian banking establishment, and by his work for Shell, British-Dutch petrol company. Two firms 'detaining secret accounts in Clearstream' ... van Buitenen, also Dutch, then asked for 'clarification' to the European Commission and the opening of a parliamentary investigation. The Commission's president, José Manuel Barroso, answered that these facts "don't bring up any new question" and that it is not known "if Menatep took contact with Bolkestein while he was in his functions". No investigation thereby took place." The free daily underlines that "in 2001, it was Bolkestein himself that announced the Commission's refusal to open up a parliamentary investigation on Clearstream", following Harlem Désir's requests and accusations that Menatep had an "undeclared account" at Clearstream. Bolkestein refused to answer any questions by the newspaper.[3]

2008 whistleblowing

On 5 March 2008, Paul van Buitenen published [4] on his website[5] a summary of a confidential internal report[6] dealing with abuse of the EU expenses and staff allowance system.

Transparency and current functions

Pledging to continue the fight against fraud and bureaucratic inefficiency on the European level, Van Buitenen founded a party named Europe Transparent, ran with it for the European Parliament in the 2004 elections (in the Netherlands) and won two seats for his party. Van Buitenen joined the Greens-EFA group in the European Parliament as an independent member.[7]

His functions in the European Parliament were

In 2007, he submitted a parliamentary question, along with Hannu Takkula (ALDE) and Paulo Casaca (PSE), accusing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of incitement to genocide (based on statements that the "Regime [Israel] that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history") and urging the European Commission to take action.[8]

On 29 January 2008 Van Buitenen announced that his party Europe Transparent was to be dissolved and that he personally intended to join the ChristianUnion.

After the European elections of June 2009 Van Buitenen returned to the European Commission, this time in DG RTD, at a stone's throw from the European Parliament. He checked for possible irregularities in Framework 7 contracts, under acting Head of Unit Peter Baader, a former OLAF official.

Van Buitenen has retired as an EU official in mid-2011.



By van Buitenen


See also


  1. ^ "6th parliamentary term | Paul van BUITENEN | MEPs | European Parliament". Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Whistleblower to stand in European elections". EUobserver. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Révélation 20 Minutes: Quand la Commission européenne refusait d'enquêter sur Clearstream" (in French). 20 Minutes. 26 April 2006. Archived from the original on 30 April 2006. Retrieved 29 April 2006.
  4. ^ "MEP makes 'fraud' report public". BBC News. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  5. ^ "Klokkenluider - Politiek doet ertoe". 10 February 2012. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "GREENS/EFA". 31 December 2004. Archived from the original on 31 December 2004.
  8. ^ "Written question – Iranian incitement to commit genocide – E-2710/2007". European Parliament. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  9. ^ "EU-25 WATCH No. 1 D On The Project" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Corruption in the EU – DW – 03/30/2007". Retrieved 13 December 2022.