European institutions ignore Transparency International report

6 June 2012

European institutions ignore Transparency International report

Today SP Euro-MP Dennis De Jong, together with anti-corruption NGO Transparency International, organised a meeting in the European Parliament at which TI’s newly-published report on corruption in Europe was launched. 'The study makes clear that corruption is exacerbating the current economic crisis and undermining democracy,’ says De Jong. ‘That’s why it’s so disappointing that the only reaction from the European Commission has been to indicate that they will be bringing their own report out in 2013. At the same time it appears that in the agreement between the European Commission and Portugal there wasn’t a single mention of combating corruption, while Van Rompuy’s new plans (‘the foundation stones’) nowhere include ideas for tackling it. The European institutions seem content simply to let this go on.’

Dennis de JongDe Jong is demanding that the European Commission finally put corruption high on the agenda of the rescue plans for the Southern European member states. ‘The study shows that the public of these countries no longer accepts corruption. 98% of Greeks see it as an enormous problem. Citizens who have the courage to bring corruption to light must be given support, both financial and in the form of a sound law protecting whistle-blowers. In addition, the rescue packages must prioritise the chain of justice: austerity policies affecting the police and judicial authorities must be immediately stopped and money invested in a well-funded and honest legal system.'

The EU institutions also do too little to guarantee transparency. The Commission is extremely reticent when it comes to supplying the public with information, as De Jong says. ‘It’s impossible to explain that the Commission went so far as to threaten to withdraw its proposal for a European Freedom of Information law if the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament reached agreement on the need for more transparency, while this same Commission spends billions on “information”. The European Parliament has also, by watering down the new code of conduct for MEPs, overstepped the mark. That’s why with TI I’ve taken the initiative to introduce a voluntary, thoroughgoing code of conduct, so that the public know that there are at least some Euro-MPs who want to offer leadership in the fight against corruption.’

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