Qatargate: MEPs Reject Commission’s Ethics Body Proposal

The new European ethics body displeases the European Parliament. European Commissioner Vera Jourova suffered harsh criticism from European elected officials on Tuesday June 13, who expected much more.

She knew she wasn’t going to have a good time. European Commissioner Vera Jourova still came to the hemicycle of the European Parliament on Wednesday in Strasbourg. She defended the Commission’s proposal to create a new body responsible for establishing ethical standards for all European institutions.

The Czech Vice-President of the Commission nevertheless tried to recall in her introductory speech that this proposal was as ambitious as what the European institutional framework allows and that nothing prevents an institution from going much further.

A “meaningless” ethical organization

MEPs preferred to mock a simple coordination forum between institutions, as presented by the German social democrat Gabriele Bischoff (S & D). It’s a start but there is still a lot of work to make it a real ethical body.

Only the European People’s Party (EPP, where the Republicans sit) deemed this proposal “good”, as German MP Sven Simon said. Because the rest of the groups agreed to find this organization meaningless, in the words of the rebellious Manon Aubry (GUE). This has nothing to do with authority, added Nathalie Loiseau (Horizon, Renew). It is a meeting place where we will discuss the lowest common denominator to find a solution.

But several MEPs have also acknowledged that the European Parliament is far from being beyond reproach. Thus, the far right has delighted in recalling the corruption affair that hits the institution with the “Qatargate”, where several MEPs received money to influence their vote, in particular on texts concerning Qatar or the Morocco.

Give more power to Olaf and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office
It is our rules that have not been respected, points out Sven Simon. Why focus on an outside body when we are not enforcing our rules? In reality, European elected representatives would like there to be a body with real investigative powers.

A point on which Commissioner Vera Jourova agrees. If we had proposed a body with investigative powers which are reserved for already existing bodies, such as Olaf (the European organization for the fight against fraud, editor’s note) and independent courts, we would not be respecting the European treaties , she explains.

Our Parliament has agreed to take the plunge by outsourcing control procedures , notes Gilles Boyer (Horizons, Renew). The self-surveillance of the institutions does not work , abounds his German ecologist colleague Daniel Freund, who took the opportunity to list the many cases of revolving door of former European commissioners passed in the private sector.

This organ, we do not need it. We must strengthen Olaf and the powers of the European public prosecutor’s office , summarizes the Czech elected Tomas Zdechovsky (EPP). This is a far cry from what the organization proposed by the Commission offers.


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