Chance to end shady practices at European Parliament

11 March 2014

Chance to end shady practices at European Parliament

11-03-2014 • Today the European Parliament will consider a report on transparency at the EU institutions. Commenting on the report, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said that it ‘has taken on board my proposals aimed at putting an end to the European Parliament’s own shady practices. These involve both internal decision-making in the EP presidium and the currently secret negotiations on legislative proposals between the EP and the Council of Ministers. This is a good step in the right direction, but the proposals must now be properly implemented. This is a case once again of deeds not words.’

The SP has for years criticised the way in which the European Parliament runs its affairs. ‘The Parliament’s presidium works like a “black box”’, says De Jong. “You certainly hear the results, but have no idea when something is being decided on, let alone how you might easily influence such decisions. And this is the case with important matters, such as the Parliament’s budgetary expenditure. Recently in the press there was an article about the ineffectiveness and sometimes downright corrupt nature of the communication budget. This spending is cooked up in the presidium, but it’s scarcely possible to exercise any control over it. That’s why I’ve proposed that more detailed agendas and reports should be produced on internal meetings and that these should be placed on the Parliament’s website. This proposal was adopted as policy, but that hasn’t completely satisfied me, because it’s down to the presidium itself to implement its recommendations and it wouldn’t be the first time they have failed to act on a resolution.’

In the report, drawn up by Sophie In´t Veld of the Dutch centrist liberal party D66, a proposal has also been taken up that reports from the trialogues, as the negotiations between Council and Parliament are known, should henceforth be made public. ‘It’s crazy that, when it really matters, the European Parliament negotiates behind closed doors. As things stand the public only gets access to the Parliament’s position at the start of negotiations, and at their culmination. But the public wants to know who made which concessions and how the political groups positioned themselves during the negotiations. That will now be possible, provided the Parliament really implements this report.’

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