An EU body bringing together workers and employers has been thrown into disarray after it emerged that a senior official who was deposed in June is refusing to step down.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) leadership bureau in June formally requested that Jacek Krawczyk, one of the institution’s three senior presidents, resign from his position following longstanding harassment allegations against him that were investigated by the EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF. Belgian authorities have also announced they will prosecute Krawczyk over the accusations, which he has previously denied.
While under the bureau’s decision Krawczyk would remain a regular member of the EESC, it said he should be discharged “from all activities involving the management or administration of staff” and withdraw his candidature for an election to choose the next overarching president in October, for which he is still the only nominated candidate.
But late on Monday, members of the EESC’s employers’ group were informed that Krawczyk — who had been absent from the committee for several months, citing sick leave — had decided to resume his functions as president of the group on August 28 despite the bureau’s request, three members told POLITICO.
One member stressed that Krawczyk’s return not only stands in direct contradiction to the June decision that he should vacate his post, but that as a group president, he is again involved in staff management duties, which he was supposed to be banned from performing.
One EESC official spoke of “total chaos” within the EU body since Krawczyk was openly defying a request from his superiors.
Krawczyk’s decision triggered a strong rebuke from EESC President Luca Jahier, but it was not immediately clear what further steps he could take to remove the official.
“I cannot recognize anymore Mr. Krawczyk as Group 1 President,” Jahier wrote on August 28 in an internal email seen by POLITICO, which underlines the internal divisions within the organization.
Jahier accused the employers’ group of not complying “at all with the substantial political decision taken by the Bureau on the 9 of June” and warned that “this will have further negative implications for the EESC immediate future.”
One EESC official spoke of “total chaos” within the EU body since Krawczyk was openly defying a request from his superiors, seemingly counting on the assumption that Jahier would not have the power to remove him: “The [EESC] leadership seems to have lost control over the affair,” the official said.
Both the EESC and Krawczyk did not respond to requests for comment.
Tomáš Zdechovský, the MEP responsible for leading discussions on approving the EESC’s budget within Parliament, said lawmakers were “very critical” of the events at the EESC, and demanded that Krawczyk step down.
MEPs from the Parliament’s budgetary control committee will discuss the matter on Thursday, Zdechovský said.