On Wednesday and Thursday, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will review the cases of 10 Commissioner designates who have been asked to provide additional information in order for the committee to assess any potential conflict of interest issues. The Greens/EFA group are calling on the Parliament to fully investigate any potential conflicts of interest and for the creation of permanent independent ethics body to oversee cases. The Greens/EFA group initiated the conflict of interest procedure and lead on transparency and integrity issues in the European Parliament.
Heidi Hautala MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Legal Affairs Committee, comments:
"The Legal Affairs Committee must give the utmost priority to the conflict of interest procedure and not bow to any party political pressure to approve Commissioner-designates. All candidates must undergo the highest level of scrutiny. While this is a good opportunity to scrutinise the Commissioner-designates, the procedure is not robust enough as it is dependent on political majorities, it relies on self-written declarations and the committee is only examining a very narrow type of conflicts of interest.
"After several high profile conflict of interest cases coming out of the Commission in recent years, it's very clear we need a permanent independent body to oversee all ethics issues and ensure European politics is kept clean. Integrity and clean politics must be at the heart of a healthy democracy and that's why it's essential that all potential new Commissioners are cleared of any perceived conflicts of interest before being confirmed in their roles. If we are to build and maintain trust in our political institutions then we must ensure that politicians are working for the public good and not for outside interests."
Tomorrow and Thursday, the Legal Affairs Committee will assess the additional answers they have received on conflict of interest questions and will take a decision on which Commissioner-designates to approve. If there remain outstanding ethics issues, the Committee could decide to request a supplementary hearing that could delay the hearing process in the other committees.
Blog: “Politics as Usual” does not suffice: We need an ethical Commission we can trust - https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/news/politics-as-usual-will-no-longer-suffice-we-need-an-ethical-commission-we-can-trust/