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Brussels Laid Bare
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69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2009
This book is a short (125 pages) diary-like record of the author's recruitment as Budget Execution Director and Chief Accountant of the EU, her attempts to reform inadequate accounting and their obstruction by European civil servants and EU commissioners, and her dismissal by the EU.

Most of the European civil servants' names have been changed, either because of libel laws or because the author says she still hopes for legal redress. In particular one Jean Maison, Director General of the Budget Directorate, who if the author is to be believed, would appear to be a Sir Humphrey gone very bad indeed.

This is an individual's record, and you must decide whether to take it at face value or write it off as a whinge (or perhaps somewhere in between.) The author's repeated and simple list of her department's failings and her attempts to reform them seemed intelligent and clear and I believe them. I doubt we will see a rebuttal; one of the central points of the book is that the EU bureacracy would only fight on its terms. Furthermore you can learn more about this complicated, and complicatedly dull, organisation in this short book than from much longer, impersonal volumes.

I found myself wondering whether the EU can ever work. The secrecy is outrageous. The unelected Commission, formed of failed and mediocre careerists like Neil Kinnock, operating in secret, proposes laws. A supine parliament (whose prostration will be partly due to incomes so massive they could be called bribes) sometimes has the power to examine and approve these laws. How can a continent that fought a war that was at least indirectly about democracy allow such a thing?

One gets the feeling that these things are unreformable. Shouldn't the EU, with the power it has now and that which it is now taking without national vetos, be reformed into elected President/Excutive, Legislature, with courts that act as such instead of informal means of refining and extending EU powers? This book gives a clear picture of how the self-serving duopoly of Commission and EU Civil Service could easily obstruct and prevent reform whilst promissing the opposite; but then think of the nations' horse trading (over for example the Common Agriculture Policy, 50 years old and bigger and more complex than ever,) the near absence of proper reporting, the publics' laziness and distraction and the national jealousies and obsessions of all of the above.

Incidentally the author is now an MEP for the UK Independence Party. That's all very ironic, but best possible luck to her grilling the EU accountants anew. My money would be on the parliament freezing her out again, by whatever means they can cook up.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2009
I've just finished Marta Andreasen's book, `Brussels Laid Bare', and the corruption described at the heart of the EEC, horrified me. This book should be required reading by everyone in Britain.

The courage displayed by Ms Andreasen, filled me with admiration; a lone woman standing up to the bullying of Neil Kinnock and his cronies, desperate to retain their perks.

Since the current government not only avoids criticising the activities of the failed Labour leader but actually chooses to reward him for his despicable conduct, we must hope that the next administration restores morality to the national agenda.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2009
a shocking exposure of the real object of the eu .to rule over every nation in europe and enjoy the good life at our expense it must be a worry for marta now she is an mep she knows to much !!!! she must be careful!Brussels Laid Bare
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This is an amazing story. Amazing because someone who discovered fraud, cheating and simple theft in the European Commission was hounded out of her job and the perpetrators got off.
It seems as though theft is encouraged in large organisations and nobody is allowed to question it.
As the Commission has a long history of uncertified accounmts by their auditors, surely SOME people should be investigating.
This money which is being STOLEN is OUR money folks - why can no politician stand up and be counted? Is there nobody who is honest these days?
Time to get politicians to be accountable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2010
To be honest, I wasn't initially sure about this book - I mean, we all know the great European project is corrupt, wasteful and condones fraud, and that no politician will ever take it on, don't we? Why enrage yourself reading any more about it? You just shrug and try to think about something else, don't you?
But, however much you think you've grasped this topic, this book is an absolute eye-opener. The unprofessional, bullying, dishonest way business is conducted there is absolutely horrifying and kudos to Marta for exposing it.
The bit where Neil Kinnock summons Marta (her attempt to introduce proper accounting procedures was making her very unpopular) and tries to bully her by telling her they can move her to another job anywhere, any time, with or without her consent, will stay with me for a very long time. (Marta calmly asks why they have called her to this meeting, then, if they can just go ahead and do anything they want). I don't know how she kept her sanity.
One cannot help but form the opinion that this outfit is not just misguided and inefficient (although it is both of those things) but could actually be run by criminals, for criminals. No more shrugging for me. Why should the taxpayer be asked for billions upon billions more, when it is all just poured into a gaping black hole?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2011
This was a book, read in a single sitting today, which I was literally unable to put down!

Some will know a little about the story of Marta Andreasen, who was for a short time the European Union's Chief Accountant, and that she was suspended and then dismissed for "whistleblowing". In reality, she was simply doing what she was being paid to do - attempting to verify the annual accounts of the European Union, which its own court of auditors had been unwilling to sign off for 14 consecutive years. Miss Andreasen entered this quagmire full of good intentions, and her singular error was not to sign herself up to the trough-snouted gravytrain which seems to have pervaded every nook and cranny of the E.U.'s finances.

Miss Andreasen was disciplined for having the temerity to contact the E.U. Commissioners directly about something as simple and straightforward as recommending new accounting software - which had already been installed and paid for but was not being used - over the head of her undoubtedly corrupt line manager. One of the unfortunate aspects of this book is that, that same corrupt line manager and indeed many others (from Commissioners downwards) have been given pseudonyms in the book - I am not sure why. Each and every one of the cut-throats and desperadoes involved should be a matter of public record, and I am sure a little internet research will reveal the names of all concerned. Some of the more obvious culprits, however, do not escape with pseudonyms, top of the list of which is Commissioner Kinnock who comes in for particularly well-deserved scorn for incomprehensibly petulant and childish behaviour - not that any of this is a particular secret to anyone that knows him, but it makes it all the more scandalous that this twit was installed as the "clean pair of hands" after the wholly inept Commission led by the truly appalling Jacques Santer (of Luxembourg) had been dismissed.

Miss Andreasen pressed on with her various appeals, none of which (unsurprisingly, since they were tribunals totally devoid of natural justice and staffed by even more trough-snouts of the E.U.) brought her any success. She had a touching faith that she dreamt that it could ever be otherwise!

Hopefully, Miss Andreasen, M.E.P. as she now is, will have some small opportunity to be thorn in the side of the European political class (and not become a part of it like most of her cohorts, save for the U.K. Independence Party on whose benches she sits). She has already been bullied, trashed and beaten up (almost literally - bugged telephones, being followed at night etc.) by our new European masters, and her well-written story deserves to be read by all, especially those who are naïve enough to think that the institution is capable of any reform whatsoever!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2009
This book should be compulsary reading for anyone of voting age.It is the account of one womans ongoing struggle to bring the European gravy train to some semblance of financial order. It affirms whay many of us have thought for a long number of years that the EU, its courts and it's colledge of 27 unelected commissioners are corrupt will do anything to stop exposure of their shady and corrupt dealings.The wastage of money and the unaccountabiliy of how it is spent beggars beleif. Who can the ordinary man/woman in the street trust. After the expenses scandal of our own MP's this is just another horror story. I wish Ms Andreasen well in her new post of MEP.
Please read it for yourselves
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2009
You will never vote for a major party again after reading this book. The corruption in Brussels is worse than in Third World Countries and confirms my opinions that we in the United Kingdom should get out of the EU as fast as possible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2011
Utterly brilliant.

This book is only 128 pages, but it punches well above its weight.

The personal hell that Marta Andreasen was put through by the EU machine after she refused to fall into line was both shocking and enraging.

I can't help but feel that if a private company in Europe treated an employee with such contempt as the EU showed to the heroine of this book (a term not used lightly, but fully justified), it would be subject to the full force of EU employment legislation and would probably face hefty fines for their trouble.

The recurring theme throughout this book is one of contempt. Contempt for EU taxpayers money, due diligence, honesty, transparency, employment law, acquired professional knowledge, professional courtesy. The list goes on and on.

The most frightening aspect of this is that the EU, far from acting as the guardians of European peace, act more like a cold war dictatorship where anyone who does not toe the party line is deemed an enemy, no matter how justified the critisisms.

It is interesting to note that no EU official has ever been prosecuted for theft or fraud, and yet the full might of the EU was ranged against someone who was actively trying to reduce such flagrant syphoning off of EU taxpayers money.

Well done to Marta Andreasen, may she long be a thorn in Brussels side as an MEP.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2009
A book that gives an insiders view on how career politicians have conspired to create an elite club. A club where they feast upon taxpayers money and do very little other than feather their own nests.

You thought the Westminster crooks were bad, but this book exposes who the masters of corruption are. Indeed, it is probably because of the EU's malign influence, that our own domestic political class have become to corrupt.

Enough is enough. The author is a brave corruption buster and must be wished well in her efforts to get inside the beast and expose it even more.

Let's hope she wins with UKIP, so that a further expose can be written and help bring the whole rotten structure.
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