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Court of Auditors

Largest MEP grouping confirms backing for Kevin Cardiff nomination

The European People’s Party, the largest group of MEPs, will vote in favour of Cardiff’s nomination to the European Court of Auditors.

KEVIN CARDIFF’S NOMINATION to the European Court of Auditors seems set to be passed by the European Parliament tomorrow, after the largest group of MEPs decided to vote en masse in his favour.

The European People’s Party – the grouping of which Fine Gael is a member – has voted to support Cardiff’s nomination when it is put to a plenary sitting of MEPs in Strasbourg tomorrow lunchtime.

Added the support of the Socialists and Democrats Group, Cardiff is now virtually to secure the support of an overall majority of MEPs – with 448 votes out of the total 736 – assuming that all members follow the party whip.

The EPP’s support, which easily ensures him overall parliamentary support, comes in spite of the fact that its 11 members of the Budgetary Control Committee voted against nominating him when he was interviewed by that committee last month.

Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness confirmed to this evening that the EPP delegation would be supporting Cardiff’s nomination “based on further responses to technical questions” they had submitted to him. understands that the EPP’s members had voted against Cardiff’s nomination on that date, citing reservations about a potential conflict of interests if Cardiff were to take over the role.

The EPP’s delegation leader, Ingeborg Graessle, had expressed concerns that Cardiff could be asked to audit the EU’s bailout funding for Ireland – after exercising a major role, as the chief civil servant in the Department of Finance, in applying for that bailout.

Their concerns were not shared by other MEPs, who were satisfied that the Court’s own internal mechanisms meant Cardiff would be absented from any auditing of spending in which he was a stakeholder.

It remains unclear, however, whether the Parliament’s vote in Cardiff’s favour will be enough to guarantee him the position – as MEPs will actually be voting on whether or not to uphold the Budgetary Control committee’s “negative opinion” against him.

Tomorrow’s vote of MEPs, which is now virtually certain to overturn the committee’s finding, will mark the first time that the plenary session and the committee have been at odds with each other on a Court nomination.

It is unclear, therefore, whether the vote of MEPs is tantamount to overturning the committee’s original finding, or whether it merely negates it – a possibility which would mean Cardiff could have to face a second interview at the Budgetary Control committee.

The final appointment is made by the European Council, which is not due to meet again until well into the New Year.

Government likely to get second chance on Cardiff nomination >

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