EPSU on Qatar-gate

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(13 December 2022) As a corruption scandal rocks the European Parliament, implicating a vice-President, several MEP assistants as well as NGOs, EPSU recalls the longstanding demands of trade unions and campaign groups for more transparency and tighter controls on lobbying. The bodies that monitor the transparency and accountability of EU politicians and high-level civil servants need greater powers of investigation and more resources while lobby registers must be binding and transparent. We cannot allow any corporation, wealthy individual or government – particularly a repressive government – to buy influence in our democratic bodies. The EP will have to do a full investigation and MEPs involved in the corruption scandal and violated the law are to face criminal charges. Commission President Von der Leyen proposed an Ethics Body three years ago. It is still not there and what is discussed lacks the necessary powers.

EPSU recalls that there are rules for good public administration but the bodies that apply them – tax and labour inspectorates, anti-corruption units and judicial bodies have often been starved of the funds to properly carry out their work. Neoliberal policies have put the stress on deregulation and fighting redtape, making it easier for unscrupulous lobbyists to break and bend the rules with little fear of either being caught or facing real sanctions.

The current scandal also implicates a unionist and this requires a proper and thorough internal investigation. When trade union representatives meet with governments, political parties and employers, they do so on the basis of the mandate from their members and in these circumstances. we expect integrity, transparency, accountability and respect for internal rules. If the accusations turn out to be true, then tough new measures will be required.