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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Brussels Laid Bare
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on 10 November 2017
There is a correlation between centralisation and corruption and the EU is no exception. In this book Marta Andreasen, formerly the EU’s Chief Accountant, outlines how poor the accounting systems are and how this has led to a significant fraud risk.

As an accountant I found it amazing that prior to Marta Andreasen’s appointment in 2002 the position of the EU’s Chief Accountant had not been held by a qualified accountant. Her book highlights the total lack of understanding of, and interest in, accounting and governance shown by the Commission and Eurocrats. Most shocking was the lack of incentive to deter fraud and the positive incentive to hide issues and persecute whistleblowers. If a private sector firm had the EU’s governance problems and had the same difficulties in getting a clean audit opinion it would have gone bust very quickly in a hail of bad publicity.

The book is written for the layman to enjoy, but I expect that accountants in particular will find it both gripping and shocking.
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on 3 November 2017
interesting book
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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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on 6 December 2014
The sheer scale of nepotism and corruption endemic throughout the EU is certainly `laid bare` - as per the title of the book..
The EU monster constantly crams vast - totally unaccounted for - amounts of money in its insatiable gaping maw, while accruing ever more power to itself in the process.
One can only wonder how and why the whole stinking edifice has not collapsed long before now. There`s none so blind........

This book should be compulsory reading .
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on 17 August 2013
This is a must read, frightening, this shows the EU is corrupt to the core. Everyone who cares about their and their childrens future needs to read this book and the sooner the better but definately before they vote in the next UK election.
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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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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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on 23 June 2015
If you want to know where the £55 million goes that we pay to the EU every single day then read this. You will be shocked and disgusted at the corruption and waste, and will definitely know which way to vote come the referendum.
Just goes to show that if you're honest you don't get far.
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on 14 April 2017
There have been all kinds of debates regarding the track record of the EU, some of them stating that the EU has a noble cause yet needs to get support to run the economy properly, while others say the EU is "the new Soviet Union in the making" with its unelected EU Commissioners, very centralized power in decision making, huge salaries and perks for MEPs and lobbyists, and corporations lobbying in the EU Parliament with intentions to destroy small businesses by over regulation.
Whether you support the EU or not, this book is worthy reference of debate when it comes to EU democracy and accountability.
Now the book hardly has any references, it is based on the author's experience. But when looking around the internet, despite the author's experience being referenced in EU debates like the UK Parliament, I haven't heard of NO attempts by anyone to debunk it, not even the people who the author named and shamed made any public attempts to debunk the book to my knowledge. That's a sure thing that it's worth a read. And although the book was released back in 2008, the news coverage of EU financial scandals which is still going on today shows that the book is still relevant.

Another good book on the many mistakes the EU has made is The Great European Ripoff by former Tax Alliance executive Matthew Elliot.
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on 7 July 2016
How anyone in the UK can say that they want to stay in the EU beats me. This book shows how deeply corrupt it is.
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