The European Parliament's Legal Affairs committee today adopted a report from rapporteur Pascal Durand (Greens/EFA) on European Commissioners' declarations of interests.
The report, which originates from the inability of the parliament to properly check the financial interests of Miguel Arias Cañete in 2014, aims to establish clear and effective procedures to prevent conflicts of interest within the European Commission.
At present, the European Parliament has very little power with regards the declarations of interests of Commissioners, merely validating their sworn statement.
Speaking after the vote, Green MEP and rapporteur for the report Pascal Durand said:
"It is a great success that there is a clear majority in favour of greater parliamentary control over conflicts of interests in the European Commission. Following the scandals of José Manuel Barroso joining Goldman Sachs and Neelie Kroes being implicated in the Bahamas leaks, it is crucial that the parliament shows it is able to take serious action to regain public trust in the EU.
“It is not enough for prospective Commissioners to simply declare they have no conflicts of interest: the parliament must be able to demand proof. The case of Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete shows that the current system is not effective. The European Parliament needs the ability to scrutinize candidates properly, otherwise we can expect further scandals to emerge in the future."
Green MEP Max Andersson added:
"More transparency is also needed for the work of MEPs if we are to strengthen citizen confidence in the European Parliament. We need to tighten the rules around the lobbying of parliamentarians, with much greater transparency over who has influenced legislation. Stricter rules against rapid moves into lobbying work at the end of elected mandates, and credible sanctions for MEPs who violate the rules, would also be beneficial."