As soon as Miss Andreasen began looking at the EU's accounting system, she saw that it was a shambles. Between the 2000 and 2001 accounts, €200 million had gone missing without explanation. She was told these were "loans" which had been â written off'. Senior officials were authorised to hand out huge sums without any proper records being kept. Accounts were kept on spreadsheets which could be accessed and changed without leaving any trace of who made the changes.
The system was open to fraud in every direction. Almost immediately, however, Miss Andreasen found herself being pressured to sign off the 2001 accounts which, as she said, would be a criminal offence, since this was the responsibility of her predecessor and she had been given none of the information needed to know whether or not they were correct.
It soon became obvious that her attempts to introduce changes were being blocked at every turn. The German budget commissioner, although initially sympathetic, was hopelessly out of her depth. Thus began a horror story only too familiar from the experience of previous whistleblowers, from Van Buitinen to Bernard Connolly, author of The Rotten Heart of Europe – except that Miss Andreasen insists she was not a "whistleblower" but merely trying to do her job.
Her telephone was bugged. She was followed outside the building. In desperation she sought an interview with Neil Kinnock, the Commission Vice-President charged with fighting fraud, but she describes how he treated her with "bullying" contempt. At Lord Kinnock's instigation, she was first suspended and consigned to a tiny office without a telephone, then dismissed, finally to face disciplinary proceeding