MEPs and hypocrisy

Series Title
Series Details Vol.7, No.28, 12.7.01, p11 (editorial)
Publication Date 12/07/2001
Content Type

Date: 16/07/01

DANISH MEP Jens-Peter Bonde recently lamented the lack of 'investigative journalism' on display in Europe's newspapers.

His compatriot Freddy Blak and 40 other members of the European Parliament may be wishing that he had kept those views to himself, following this week's European Voice investigation into the number of MEPs who have failed to publish details of their financial interests online.

Mr Blak, vice-chairman of the budgetary control committee and a vociferous opponent of secrecy in the European Commission, was furious when asked to explain this apparent lack of transparency. Gabriele Stauner, a colleague on the same committee, thought it 'ridiculous' to be asked to divulge her interests (although she later provided European Voice with the details). The word hypocrisy springs to mind. As Swedish MEP Cecilia Malmström points out, they of all people should be setting a good example. We do not doubt that there may be good reasons, such as ill-health, why some MEPs are yet to make a full and frank declaration for all the public to see. European Voice will continue to monitor the list of those who fail to do this. If any members change their mind, we will be only too delighted to inform readers.

MEPs are also rightly facing criticism this week for backtracking on a commitment to publish full lists of all their assistants. This will only strengthen suspicion of fraud and misuse of taxpayers' money.

Some of those who pay their assistants poorly will no doubt fear exposure. We hope the vast majority of decent MEPs will urge their colleagues to do the right and proper thing.

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