Paola Testori Coggi, the head of the European Commission’s department for health and consumers, has resigned following a disciplinary investigation into a possible breach of internal procedures.
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Testori Coggi, who has been director-general for health and consumers since April 2010, submitted her resignation from that post to the college of European commissioners, which today (15 October) decided that it should be accepted.
The Commission’s own investigation had found that Testori Coggi failed to respect internal procedures when she made an indiscreet comment to a non-governmental organisation about the timing of a tender to be published by her department.
The investigation found there was no criminal behaviour or corruption and no financial damage was done to the EU budget.
A Commission spokesman said: “Ms Testori Coggi herself took corrective action when she realised her mistake, and cancelled the tender procedure. She took responsibility, and tendered her resignation.”
“Ms Testori Coggi has had an impeccable 32-year career in the Commission, with no suggestion of any other such incidents,” he said, adding: “However, the Commission has zero tolerance for non-respect of internal rules on tender procedures.”
Testori Coggi spoke to her staff this afternoon and made an emotional farewell.
During the course of her Commission career, the Italian played leading roles in tackling a series of animal health and food-safety scares, which had far-reaching implications for the EU and its consumer policy, notably bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza. She was in the cabinet of Emma Bonino, the commissioner for health and consumer issues, in the late 1990s, became a director for food safety in 2000, and deputy director-general of SANCO in 2007.
The dossier that she highlighted as “the most difficult” of her career was the revision of the tobacco-products directive that was approved by the EU’s member states last December. That became enmired in allegations of improper influence involving John Dalli, who was obliged to resign as the European commissioner for health and consumer policy.
“I am not a Epicurean, but the contrary – a Calvinist,” Testori Coggi told European Voice in a profile published this February. She added: “First of all you have to take care of your duty.”
European Voice’s profile of Paola Testori Coggi, published on 12 February 2014.