Stopping the rot: Left demands thorough European Parliament ethics overhaul
As the EU corruption bin fire blazes on, the Left is presenting its vision for a transparent and fully accountable European Parliament.
While some, both inside and outside the Parliament, would like to see business continue as usual, the Left’s proposals call for a root and branch reform to fix the Parliament’s rotten culture of revolving doors, opaque practices and lack of oversight.
Our proposals are based on the Resolution on suspicions of corruption from Qatar and the broader need for transparency and accountability in the European institutions, which was approved (almost unanimously) in December. They go much further than the plan presented behind closed doors by the European Parliament’s President, Roberta Metsola, on 12 January.
The Left is calling for:
- a committee of inquiry examining the maladministration that allowed corruption and cash for votes in the first place;
- an immediate strengthening of the Transparency Register, making it mandatory and binding in practice, while also equipping it with additional resources;
- full alignment of internal rules to the EU Whistleblowing Directive;
- a clear, public and accessible legislative footprint including the mandatory disclosure of all meetings of MEPs, as well as declarations of gifts and trips to countries outside the EU;
- a revised and strengthened list of sanctions in the case of MEP misconduct.
A full overview of our proposals, including on transparency policies and conduct of MEPs, is available online.
Co-President of the Left, Martin Schirdewan (Die Linke) said: “The corruption scandal in the European Parliament is a blow to the credibility of European politics. There is a structural problem. President Metsola should now put all her energy into clearing this up. Her proposals are insufficient. To fight corruption in the European Parliament, we demand secure whistleblower protection and an independent ethic body. Transparency rules must be enforced consistently and those who violate them must be punished accordingly.”
Co-President of the Left, Manon Aubry (La France Insoumise) said: “Corporate capture, corruption, conflicts of interests: Qatargate is only the tip of the iceberg and the 14 measures proposed by the President of the European Parliament barely scratch the surface of the problem. The Left has been highlighting unacceptable flaws and loopholes in the European Parliament’s integrity safeguards for years. Following our initiative at the December plenary, Parliament finally adopted, almost unanimously, the comprehensive roadmap we proposed, but Metsola’s plan only includes 4 out of 15 measures adopted. Now is the time to be true to our vote and implement the Resolution adopted in plenary, instead of coming up with new diversions from behind the scenes.”
In December, immediately after the scandal broke, The Left put forward a range of immediate proposals, some of which were adopted. But the measures adopted so far are mere baby steps compared to the lengths the European Parliament needs to walk. This is an opportunity for Parliament to clean up its act and restore the trust of the people of Europe, anything less than radical change is simply not good enough.
In Strasbourg this week, MEPs will debate new developments in allegations of corruption and foreign interference, including those related to Morocco, and the need to increase transparency, integrity and accountability in the European institutions, on Tuesday, 17 January, after 15:00 CET, and will elect a new vice-president to replace Eva Kailli, on Wednesday, 18 January, 12:00 CET.