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March 03, 2005

The Definition of Chutzpah.

Chutzpah is one of those Yiddish words which is impossible to translate properly. Shameless audacity comes close, balls of steel perhaps,  but nothing quite captures the full flavour. One can only point to real world examples and allow the reader to absorb the meaning:

The European Commission sought yesterday to establish itself as the EU's chief auditing authority, demanding new powers to police the budget offices of member states.

Yes, really, that body whose own accounts have not been approved by their own auditors for a decade wishes to set itself up as the inspector of everyone else’s accounts. We’re getting close to an example of chutzpah, not quite there yet.

Eurostat inspectors would be able to demand access to debt figures and "underlying government accounts" to safeguard the "credibility" of monetary union.
Britain could also be the target of raids, even though it is not a member of the euro.

Ooh, yes, edging very close to the true definition, the reason given is to protect the euro but the powers will extend to those who are not part of the euro. One more thing needed for the true full glory:

Ironically, Eurostat is itself embroiled in scandal. A leaked memo by investigators described a "vast enterprise of looting" by top officials, entailing the disappearance of €5m (£3.4m) of taxpayer funds in illegal black accounts. Contracts were awarded off-books to a shadowy network of suppliers linked to the officials and their families.

Yes! There we have it. A bunch of crooks, from an organisation that cannot run its own accounts, demands the right to oversee everyone else’s accounts with a spurious justification. Yes, that’s chutzpah.

Further information from Marta Andreasen.

Oh, and by the way, in my opinion the Noble Lord Kinnock is a git.

March 3, 2005 in European Union | Permalink


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The best example of chutzpah I've come across is murdering your parents then appealing for clemency on the grounds that you are an orphan. But this comes pretty close. It's akin to replacing the FSA with the Enron board.

Posted by: Jon Barnard | Mar 3, 2005 9:43:52 AM

It's not just the EU Commission whose auditors won't sign its accounts. As far as I know, there are several government departments in the UK which have had similar problems.

Posted by: Ken | Mar 3, 2005 10:45:42 AM