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At the birth

The famously dull corridors of power in Brussels suddenly sprang to life after the birth of the euro. It's getting personal

By Bella Thomas   February 1999

It may not have been pure coincidence. In the week after the euro was launched, the credibility of the European commission was called into question, as never before, by the European parliament. The parliament dared to “refuse discharge” to the commission’s 1996 budget. Edith Cresson of France and Manuel Marin of Spain (two of the 20 commissioners) were the main targets, but the vote amounted to an allegation of inefficiency-variously reported as fraud, corruption or simple mishandling-directed at the whole commission. The commission made the error of suspending the official who leaked the relevant documents to the parliament-Paul van Buitenen-which…

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