Roelie Post: The Life of a Whistle-Blower

Source: ARGOS 

ARGOS – VPRO (Independent Dutch Public Broadcaster)

Broadcasted on 5 May 2018

English translation from Dutch

Roelie Post, Das Leben eines Whistleblowers

Roelie Post: La Vie d’un Lanceur d’Alerte

But first our investigation about a sensitive subject: adoption of a child from abroad is more and more under discussion.

Investigative programme Zembla recently brought the news about adoptions from Sri Lanka and in April the Dutch docu drama Exportbaby was broadcasted – about corruption with adoptions from Uganda. Last year the Council for Criminal Justice and Youth Protection [RSJ] to forbid adoptions from abroad. One of the first who brought out the fact that adoption and child trafficking are closely connected, was Roelie Post – civil servant of the European Commission in Brussels.

End nineties she worked there on the problems with children’s rights in Romania; these needed to be solved before accession of Romania to the European Union would be possible. Post got confronted with opposition and threats that were so serious that she now has retreated to a small village in the North of the Netherlands.  She has a long-lasting conflict with her employer: the European Commission.

They do not acknowledge her as whistle-blower and threaten with disciplinary measures.

Hélène van Beek visited her.

I stand her in front of the door of Roelie Post. It is a picturesque little street, stepped gable houses, in a very small village in the North of the country.  It is Sunday. I have an appointment with Roelie Post. But the doorbell does not work.  I better knock.

There she is.

Roelie: Hello Hélène

Hélène: Can I come in?

Roelie:  Yes, of course

Hélène: Thank you, let’s have a look. Here we are.

Roelie is looking quite nice. A well taken care of woman in her fifties. Somewhat distinguished. Wearing a nice big neck chain. Tastefully dressed in black. One would almost say: Brussels’ chique.

What does the expert in the field of adoption and child trafficking do here in this little house in the north of the Netherlands?

Last year Roelie spoke as expert in the Dutch Parliament during a hearing about intercountry adoption.

Chair of the meeting was Madeleine van Toorenburg from the Christian Democratic Party:

It will be a long, fascinating and very interesting day. Without doubt also a day that will bring about a lot. I say that on purpose because I also know that some of the people here will perhaps say things about which you think … what do I think about that. That will happen, but I want to ask you to just listen well. The Parliament Members will take these remarks into consideration when they debate the issue.

Adoption is a sensitive issue.

A discussion about it is always surrounded with many emotions.

The Hearing is organised because there is a fare going advice to stop the adoption of children from abroad.

The Vice-President of the Council on Council for Criminal Justice and Youth Protection [RSJ] explains the advice:

And therefore we advise to provide help in the country of origin as a better way then intercountry adoption, to protect children.

This is an unexpected clear message. For the first time an official advisory committees speaks out against intercountry adoption.

And we know it has consequences for future wish parents. But nevertheless we made this consideration, because the interest of the child must be the only and decisive interest.

Then one of the experts is introduced: Roelie Post. She deals since many years with irregularities in intercountry adoptions worldwide. Bureaucrats and journalists often use her expertise. She was also closely involved with the script of Exportbaby, a docu drama about adoptions from Uganda which was last month broadcasted on TV.

And now, at the request of politicians, she gives her opinion about the report of the advisory committee.

Madeleine van Toorenburg (Chair):

I give the floor to Mrs. Roelie Post, European civil servant and whistle-blower.

Roelie Post:

Thank you. I am Roelie Post, I thank you for the invitation. I am civil servant of the European Commission since 1983. I have gotten involved with the subject of intercountry adoption in 1999, now seventeen/eighteen years ago, when Romania wanted to become a member of the European Union. And the European Union put as condition that adoptions had to stop.

Hélène van Beek:

That was last year in the Dutch Parliament. But now Roelie Post sits here, in this little house. She prefers that we don’t mention the name of the village.

Over the last months, I visited her a few times and got to know her better.

She is here in hiding. The quiet village gives her a feeling of safety. If something happens, it will be noticed.

 Hélène: But do you like being here, Roelie?

Roelie: No

Here Roelie tells us her story. And that story begins in 1999. Roelie then becomes Task Manager at the European Commission in the field of children’s rights in Romania.

Roelie:

It was the file Romanian children, Romanian orphans as they were often called, and in 1999 that became my job. In the framework of the enlargement of the European Union with the Eastern European countries, so I became responsible for the monitoring of the respect of children’s rights in Romania, meaning children in children’s homes. There were all kind of scandals about that. Bad care, everyone knew about that problem. And, in 2000, we were confronted with a strongly increasing intercountry adoption. In two, three years’ time it went from 500 to 2.500. The Romanian news was full with all kind of scandals about that.

Hélène:

 And what were those scandals about?

Roelie:

The enormous amount of money involved. And sometimes dark organisations that were involved

These scandals also reached the Dutch media. Newspaper Trouw wrote in 2004 about a very lucrative trade in children in Romania.

To improve the process of intercountry adoption and in the hope to prevent irregularities, in 1993 the Hague Adoption Convention came into being. But according to Post, this worsened the situation.

Roelie:

Romania was the first country that implemented it. So adoptions were now well regulated. Now lawyers and others could no longer do adoptions, it had to be done by officially accredited adoption agencies. And thus within a few months there were 108 adoption agencies. Everyone set up an adoption agency.

In Romania, white children were available for adoption. Those were very much wanted. In particular by “wish” parents from France, Italy, Israel and the US. Those countries were the biggest takers. Adoptive parents paid up to 40.000 dollar for a Romanian child. According to a price list from an American adoption agency.

After the fall of the Romanian dictator Ceausescu, in 1989, 30.000 children were sent abroad.

Roelie:

Romania was then the fourth biggest sending country of the world. Third or fourth. It came right after China and Russia. But those are enormous big countries. With a lot of inhabitants. Romania came right after those, while it is a relatively small country. And in Romania was almost the only country where one could adopt Caucasian, white children.

Except the Hague Adoption Convention, there is another Convention. That is the international Convention on the Rights of the Child. This UN Convention regulates that if parents cannot care for their children, intercountry adoption is only allowed if in-country there is no other way to care for the child. All EU Member States ratified this child rights convention.

Roelie Post was as civil servant of the European Commission working for the Romania Team, which had to prepare the accession of Romania.

Roelie was in particular charged with the improvement of the situation in the hundreds of children homes and orphanages in Romania. To look for other ways of care. For the European Commission, not the Hague Adoption Convention – but the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child the legal basis.

Roelie:

We also had made 50 million euro available for Romania to reform their child protection. In such a manner that it became like other European Member States, to close the huge old-style children homes. Creating foster care, family-type homes. There was huge resistance to the closure of so-called baby-homes. Those were the nurseries for intercountry adoption, literally – so the resistance was enormous to their closure by those who had made this their business.

The interests in adoptions are big.

Roelie:

It are the adoption agencies who have interests, because that is their reason of being. There is a lot of money involved. And although these organisations are non-profit, those people earn a good salary. So, they want to continue. Then there are prospective adoptive parents who have a strong desire to have a child.

All those interests make that there are a lot of lobbyists who strongly work pro adoption.

Roelie:

Inside the European Commission there are all kind of other files where there are lobbied involved, but I dare to say that this is about the strongest lobby that exists.

Hélène:

 How come?

Roelie:

Because it is a very emotional subject, for many people. Because there is a lot of money involved.

Someone who also personally got confronted with this heavy pressure of the adoption lobby, is Gunter Verheugen. This German politician was as Commissioner for the European Commission responsible for the accession of new members to the EU. So also Romania.

Verheugen wanted to stop the trade in children. Under his ruling, in 2001 a moratorium was put in place. A temporary stop on Romanian adoptions. Verheugen felt what this stop brought about. Also inside his own organisation.

Because he felt he was being opposed, Verheugen took measures:

Gunter Verheugen:

In time it became clear that my attitude in this case of child trafficking in Romania got huge political resistance. In many countries, NGO’s and people with a lot of power.
There were strong reactions. From the US, Israel, Italy and France. There was also a
significant resistance within the European Commission regarding this issue. Also in my own Directorate General, because high-level civil servants had a completely different view.

They held my tough attitude towards Romania for wrong.

I had the feeling that I got not 100 percent and correctly informed. And then I took an unusual decision and put Roelie directly under me. This way she could inform me without the in-between of the Director General.

That Director General was the Spanish Eneko Landaburu. He wanted indeed that the Romanian adoptions continued.

That becomes clear from an amicable letter from April 2001 from Landaburu to one of the most important lobbyists: François Polge de Combret. The letter became public through a request under the Regulation for access to documents. Landaburu says that the blockage of adoption procedures is very alarming. And he promises to convince the Romanian authorities that rapid re-opening of the adoption procedures is necessary.

Remarkable detail: the wives of De Combret and Landaburu are cousins.

It was in this confusing and sensitive setting that Commissioner Verheugen requested an adoption stop from Romania.

Verheugen:

I have told the Romanian Prime Minister clearly: I don’t want to finalise the accession of Romania if this issue is not solved. “Pistole auf der Brust” [Sic. German expression for extreme pressure].

The Romanians have changed the laws, and adoptions abroad were forbidden.

Ana Gomes, a Portuguese Member of the European Parliament (Alliance of Progressive Socialists and Democrats) had children’s rights in her portfolio. She also experienced how aggressive the pro-adoption lobbyists worked.

Gomes:

In several of our Member States but also in the United States and in Israel, who had an interest in importing children from Romania, were many groups who had an interest in adopting children from Romania. It was also about economic interests. Many people were of vicious reputation. They placed Romanian children in rich families, in the US and in Europe.

Ana Gomes also personally experienced how powerful the lobby was.

Gomes:

So I felt that lobby. I saw it acting. Here in the Parliament. And I can tell you, it is a very strong and organised lobby. A lot of money involved.

At the same time there was hardly any control possible. It was unclear, how the children who were adopted abroad, were doing. I am convinced there were criminal organisations involved.

In the European Commission and the European Parliament many lobbyists are active who all try to get things done. Mostly people with status.  One of the mightiest lobbyists was the previously mentioned Francois de Combret.  He was banker, and director of Renault.

Since the nineties he was the figurehead of the French organisation Solidarite Enfants Roumains Abbandones, SERA. Officially SERA had as goal to improve the situation in children homes in Romania, but in fact SERA was mainly an adoption organisation.

And within the European Commission it was known that many adoption organisations had a dubious reputation. Proof of this is a confidential note written in 2000 by the European ambassador in Romania, the Greek Fokion Fotiadis. And this note was addressed to Landaburu, as Director General responsible for the enlargement of the European Union:

The international adoption system is indeed very lucrative. There is a corrupt system of child trafficking under the guise of intercountry adoption, whereby more than 200 uncontrolled and in many cases dubious NGO’s are involved. There is a strong suspicion that also the political top in the country is involved. Also, some embassies in Bucharest say that there are strong indications that the system is infiltrated by paedophile networks.

But the lobby by De Combret and others continued. De Combret felt stronger after the departure of the principled Commissioner Verheugen. De Combret wrote March 2005 a letter to Roelie’s direct boss, Wenceslaz de Lobkowicz:

Dear Wenceslaz,

My conviction is that we have today an historical chance to solve a problem. In Brussels the Commission for Enlargement has changed. And in the European Parliament is also another, well-willing rapporteur.

Dear Wenceslaz, this is the new political situation, which is simple and complicated. Simple because it is clear that the situation of the orphans is tragic, very complicated because the margins within which the Romanian government can manoeuver depends of the Commission and the Parliament.

In this context, dear Wenceslaz, I am glad to meet you.

De Combret and De Lobkowicz would have this meeting on 18 April 2005. But when Roelie Post found out about it, she warned that officials of the European Commission were being played against each other by De Combret. A mail from Post to her colleagues:

This meeting risks a negative effect. Like again letters from De Combret and media campaigns directed against the European Commission and Romania, as well as personal actions in the European Parliament. Considering the problematic relation between SERA and the Commission it is necessary that we internally are on one line.

Post requested that she and her colleague were present at that meeting. From the minutes that she made of that meeting, appears that there was a tensed ambiance.

De Combret had strong criticism towards the Commission, because adoptions from Romania were forbidden. And he attacked Roelie Post in person by stating that she was since too long in her position and had too much influence in the European Commission.

But Roelie’s boss, De Lobkowicz, was clear about the wrongdoings in adoptions. He called it trade in children, and compared this with trade in drugs and arms. He also was irritated about the exaggerated dramatization and rhetorical emotion of De Combret in relation to the Romanian children.

An angry De Combret ended the meeting.

It was tactic from De Combret. He did not shun any means to create the image that despite all improvements there were still huge problems in the Romanian orphanages. And that the only solution for that was intercountry adoption.

Roelie:

He put pressure on the top, the French top in in the European Commission. With all kind of scandal stories and dramatic stories about… let me give an example: that a child had eaten the hand of another child, at night, because of hunger. Cannibalism in the Romanian orphanages. After we had checked that, it appeared not to be true.

The temporary stop on adoptions was changed in 2004 into a Romanian law that permanently forbid intercountry adoptions.

But the pro-adoption lobby did not accept that.

De Combret at its head.

He started a campaign with adverts in French magazines with terrible stories about wrongdoings in Romanian children homes. With as message: Romania better re-allows intercountry adoptions.

Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes calls that blackmail.

Gomes:

I remember there was a Mr. Francois de Combret, who was very much steering that campaign to blackmail Romania.

He pretended doing good for the children in the children homes, but in fact he made money by exporting children to rich families.

Just before the European Parliament would take a final decision about the accession of Romania to the EU, De Combret argued in a Hearing at the European Parliament for adoptions from Romania.

He uses strong words.

De Combret:

What is at stake, is the happiness of the child. The fate of the child is even worse than it was in the orphanage.

If we close the orphanages, their fate is even worse than it was in the orphanage. Therefore, international adoption is absolute necessary.

Also Italy had a very strong lobby with the adoption agency Amici dei Bambini. Despite the moratorium Amici dei Bambini was successful in getting a large group of children to Italy. Not by total coincidence, Italy held at that time the Presidency of the European Union.

Roelie:

In that role, Italy put pressure on the Romanian Prime Minister to get exceptions on the adoption stop. On the moratorium. Silvio Berlusconi got then, end December, the green light for 105 exceptions. 105 children who were sent to Italy.

When we heard about that, especially when Commissioner Verheugen heard about it, he was extraordinary angry. And he told the Romanian Prime Minister, Nastase, we don’t continue like this. If there will be more exceptions, then you cannot be a Member of the European Union. And then Romania stopped adoptions completely.

But that was not all. Also countries outside Europe had people who were active to get Romanian adoptions.

The US lobbied also aggressively in Brussels.

Member of the European Parliament, Ana Gomes:

At that time I was even lobbied by an American congressman who came to complain about one of his rich constituents who was expecting a child that would not come from Romania because of the moratorium.

I went to Romania, and together with the Romanian authorities, saw that the child was fantastically integrated in a Romanian family who adopted her.

Roelie:

For months I was, first twice per week and afterwards every day – even twice per day, followed by young men who looked identical. They made intimidating gestures towards me, as if they would get a gun out of their pocket, looking very unfriendly. They stood for hours in front of my window. Police came often. But… told me to be careful and not to take any actions myself.

The threats towards Roelie Post were a number of strange, unexplainable happenings.

Roelie:

It is a range of weird things, being followed… at a certain moment I and others who worked with me had all car problems – break-ins, windows broken, my car was stolen. Also a break-in in my house, and the office which we had in the basement.

She filed complaints about the threats with the Belgian police. The spokesperson of the Police in Brussels confirms to us that there is indeed a file “Roelie Post”, and that the Police advised her to be on guard.

Roelie:

Well, with this kind of almost mafia-like threats nobody leaves a name. The Police told me at the time that I not only should note down the dates and threats, but also note down what I was doing that day and what happened at work. And then one saw very quickly a pattern. That as soon as there were important happenings, or if I would speak in public – something would happen.

The atmosphere become very frightening for Roelie. And she gets no support from her employer, the European Commission.

Roelie:

The local Brussels Police told me at a certain moment, listen… this is serious. You have to take it seriously. But we cannot do much for you, as long as the European Commission does not come with you here at the Police station.

Hélène:

Why would the European Commission need to come with you to file a complaint?

Roelie:

Because, the European Commission is of course the most powerful organisation of Europe and the Brussels Police will not go against the European Commission. Or investigate things surrounding their staff, if the European Commission does not ask that. And I was always alone.

Roelie also reported to her hierarchic superiors.

Dirk Lange, head of the Romania Team. We have the minutes of a meeting where her security situation is discussed with the head of Human Resources. There is mentioned the proposal to remove Roelie from the file.

Roelie disagrees.

The Romanian children issue is close to her heart. And she has in the meantime gained a lot of expertise, which she wants to continue to put at use.

Roelie does not want to leave, but asks for security.

Some colleagues support Roelie.

Her direct boss, writes the next day to the head of Human Resources:

 It seems to me that when an official is victim of threats, because of her professional responsibilities, that it is up to the Commission to organise her protection. And that the Commission should address the Police in the name of the official.

And that the last mentioned does not have to do that on personal title.

But the European Commission does not involve the Police.

And the threats continued. Roelie Post is convinced that she was also overheard. And she is not the only one who thinks so.

She shows a big notepad, in which she communicated with the British Baroness Emma Nicholson. She dealt with the Romanian adoptions as rapporteur of the European Parliament for Romania’s accession to the EU.

Roelie:

We then already knew that we worked on a dangerous file. And that if we discussed important matters – in relation to our safety – we should not speak out loud. And – better safe than sorry – in the end, at the insistence of Baroness Nicholson, we wrote it all down.

So yes, paranoia or not, I was in any case then not the only one…

Emma Nicholson wrote in big scribbels the measures which Post should take. Emma Nicholson confirmed to us that these are indeed her notes.

  • Pictures, take them

  • Camera’s above door and windows

  • A personal alarm, with a cord on your body

  • Equipment to record

  • Temporarily move house

  • Plan of Action: swipe your house, including mobile and computer

Despite everything, Roelie Post continues to work.

A second person has been put on the job, so that she is no longer the only responsible civil servant for the Romanian Children File.

In an undated confidential letter her boss De Lobkowicz writes that Roelie is possibly a victim of the lobby. That she filed Police complaints. That she will need to withdraw from the Romanian Children File and that a colleague will temporarily take over.

That colleague is prepared to speak with us, on condition that we don’t mention her name. Because she is not really allowed to speak to us.

Well, when we started working together, very quickly I also started seeing strange things. Because I often after work spent time at her house, here in Brussels. We were for example followed in the street, in the park, when we walked her dog.

And in front of her house we often saw a big white van that was parked there.

And once we got out and I could see that the doors of the van were open and inside there was a lot of electronical equipment. When they saw me getting closer, they quickly closed the doors. It was clear that someone was very carefully listening in. Listening to what was going on in Roelie’s house.

Roelie:

Eventually it led to the fact that one day, on 14 June 2005, I had to go to the head of the Human Resources, who said: from tomorrow on you don’t work in the Romania Team. And that was it. And it wasn’t said where I would work. So, I first stayed home a few days. That’s how it started. The breaking point.

The colleague tells how she experienced that meeting:

In the Commission you have this system that if they want to transfer you, they transfer you. It is sort of military hierarchy.

At the end, in 2005, they forced Roelie to leave. I was there, with someone from Human Resources. She told Roelie that she had 15 minutes to leave the building.

Roelie wrote an emotional farewell mail to her close colleagues and bosses:

It is with deep regret that I write this mail. Since the change of the Commission the pressure for intercountry adoptions has increased and appears to have found a willing ear at the Commission. Mr. de Combret is stronger than ever and, after 15 years of harassing the Commission he seems to be winning after all.

Roelie first put herself on sick leave, then took leave to reconsider her future, but she remained a European Commission civil servant.

After four years, there came finally a solution. Thanks to Secretary General Catherine Day. The highest official of the European Commission.

And she has mediated, let’s say, and made clear to me that inside the Barroso I Commission there was no place for me. That I could not work there on children’s rights and that the whole ambiance, the whole environment was hostile. That I could better work for an NGO, an outside organisation. Like for example UNICEF or Save the Children, until the situation inside the European Commission would improve.

Roelie Post remained officially a European civil servant, and got told to work temporarily for – until a solution was found – and set up – her own NGO. That was Against Child Trafficking, ACT.

Roelie:

I always knew this is bizarre. This is weird. You cannot be a civil servant and work for an NGO. But there was absolutely no other option.

Against Child Trafficking since then uncovered worldwide many adoption scandals. For example in Ethiopia, India and China. It were always comparable wrongdoings. Files not in order, stolen children, biological parents still alive.

During her leave, Roelie wrote the book “Romania for export only”. A dairy in which she very detailed reports about the corruption inside and outside the Commission. With that book she blew the whistle.

Roelie:

To publish a book as civil servant is blowing the whistle. Externally. And it was a strong whistle.

Catherine Day, the highest boss of the European Commission, said to me: don’t do it under the whistle-blowing procedures. Then you can come back in a few years. I did not quite understand that at the time. I understand now that whistle-blowers can never come back. That’s inherent. One blows the whistle about your organisation and unfortunately experience shows that you never can get back.

Roelie Post is not the only one who got to do with threats when she, as European civil servant, wanted to end wrongdoings in adoptions. Her colleague also, many years later, got threats when she also was working on the improvement of care for children in children homes.

This time this happened in the framework of the accession of Montenegro to the European Union.

Anonymous colleague:

In 2014 when I was working on Montenegro, I started seeing similar problems. Montenegro is a very small country. There was just one children home with approximately 100 children. UNICEF and the European Union wanted to dismantle it. We gave UNICEF some 2 million euros to close that home and to create alternative solutions for the children. But they never finished the job.

And in the end it looked like a bit of corruption. And at the same time I saw in the press that healthy children from Montenegro were adopted for example to Sweden.

Then I told my bosses: I don’t see why we would give Montenegro this EU subsidy. And when I wrote that in my annual staff report, I and my family got to do with problems related to our security.

So then, me and my family we started experiencing security problems.

In a mail to Roelie she described the threats and the measures she and her husband had to take:

We are locked up now. Fences and cameras everywhere.

Axel had a strange car accident yesterday. The shock was violent, the cars heavily damaged. Axel was not hurt. Could also be part of the intimidations.

The colleague and her husband Axel went through the same as Roelie. They also handed in many complaints with the Police. In a long letter they asked to make a connection between their threats and those of Roelie Post, but also that did not happen.

And this colleague too got into big problems at the European Commission. And she was just like Roelie side-lined.

And another colleague from the European Commission who dealt with children’s rights in Romania has been threatened. Mariela Neagu. She lived in Bucharest and she contributed to the book of Roelie Post. But at the last minute she withdrew. She did not dare after all.

She confirms that she was the close colleague from Roelie, but she does not want to talk with us.

Yes, I did. But there is nothing I have to tell you.

Is that all right?

Thank you very much, bye bye!

She now lives in Oxford. There she wrote in 2015 a detailed article “Children by request”, in which she calls the adoptions from Romania a much corrupted trade.

When the temporary secondment to her own NGO stopped, Roelie Post had to back to the office of the European Commission in Brussels.

But that went wrong.

She got a function without content, which had nothing to do with her expertise.

And worse, the men who threatened her before, again were in front of her door.

Roelie:

When I – 10 years later – started working at the Commission again, in 2014, all of a sudden the same young man, 10 years older, was back. In the same way. And that shocked me enormously. That 10 years later, after I had not seen them for so long, that they were back.

And again nobody stands up for Roelie. She is completely alone. And can no longer take it. From one day to the other, she closes the door of her Brussels’ house and goes in hiding.

First in a caravan. Now in a house in a small village in the North of the Netherlands.

She sits now since years in a debilitating conflict with her employer the European Commission, who shuns no means to destroy her. They even tried to have her declared as psychiatric case.

Roelie:

It is a pattern that one sees often. That they try to get you there. That you have a burn out, or in any case psychiatrically not ok.

And that they also tried with her colleague.

Anonymous colleague:

Well in Roelie’s case and mine it is very clear that they would like to put us on invalidity. Because invalidity means that you need a psychiatric statement. One keeps 70% of salary, but it needs a psychiatric statement that something is wrong in your head.

That’s their goal. Then they can say that there two women are crazy.

Is Roelie crazy or not.

We ask it to people with whom she worked.

Former Commissioner Gunter Verheugen wishes to emphasise that he does not experience Roelie as a paranoid woman, but as a normal, good official.

Verheugen:

  I experienced her as a very competent, very engaged, and very trustworthy staffer.

 Competent, engaged, trustworthy.

Also Member of the Parliament Ana Gomes, who dealt with Romania for years, believes Roelie Post.

Gomes:

And at that time, what I heard about Mrs. Roelie Post is that she did an outstanding, very brave, courageous job in exposing all these murky things.

She got later psychologically damaged so that she could not continue her work.

So obviously there was an interest to put her away.

Ana Gomes does not understand why the Commission does not see Roelie as whistle-blower.

Gomes:

I really don’t understand it. I am persuaded that she is a whistle-blower. And victim of a very very powerful lobby. 

MEP Gomes asked in 2015 Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission, to intervene. She wrote to him:

I believe that Mrs. Post must be considered to be a whistle-blower. And thus should be protected instead of punished.

Timmermans did not reply.

Gomes repeated her request last year. Only then Timmermans replied that he would not interfere because he is not responsible for human resources.

Ana Gomes also asked the European Ombudsman to investigate the case.

Roelie is now threatened with disciplinary matters, because she does not go to work anymore.

That could mean: pay back years of salary, and reduction of her pension.

And there is a preliminary report of the Ombudsman, which says that the European Commission treated Roelie correctly.

Hélène:

 Will they also destroy you emotionally?

Roelie:

To emotionally destroy me they have of course already tried over the last 10 years.

Hélène:

Were they successful?

Roelie:

No, they were not successful. I am of course not anymore the same person I was before all this happened. That person also never comes back. So far there is permanent damage to my life. And in how I look at life.

There have also been moments where I thought: I stop with it completely. I lost my job, my house, all normal things, going on a holiday is something I have not done since 10 years.

There is nothing left. Nothing at all.

But… yes… every person has its limits.

We asked those involved in this inside the European Commission for a reaction, but nobody wanted to cooperate.

Finally the spokesperson came with a statement which says that the issue of Mrs. Post is dealt with according to quote “just procedures as laid down in the Staff Regulations. For privacy reasons the Commission does not want to enter into the content of the case.”

Also several former colleagues, among who former Secretary General Catherine Day and former Member of the European Parliament Emma Nicholson do not want to cooperate.

The adoption lobbyist François Polge de Combret could not be reached for comments. He is now being the suspect in a bribery scandal related to a mine company in Guinea.

Lobbyist Marco Griffini from Amici dei Bambini is since beginning of this year under investigation by the anti-mafia prosecutor in Milan for the suspicion of corruption with adoptions from Congo.