|Author (Person)||Banks, Martin|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.42, 15.11.01, p4|
THE head of Germany's Christian Democrat MEPs in the European Parliament has defended his decision not to publish his financial interests on the internet. Hartmut Nassauer says he is in favour of members making a full declaration, but points out that he already does this on a central register - not available online - in Brussels and Strasbourg. "This information is available for all German voters and citizens of the European Union. The data on the internet, however, can be accessed worldwide without restriction. In view of this, I have limited access of my details to EU citizens."
His comments came as two more MEPs, Greek Christian Democrat Ioannis Averoff and Italian Mariotte Segni, a member of the Union for Europe of the Nations group (UEN), declared their interests online. When asked why he had decided to register, Segni said: "I have nothing to hide so I have no objection to putting my financial interests online."
European Voice has been at the forefront of a campaign demanding greater transparency from MEPs and their decision takes the number of 'refuseniks' to 31. Four other Christian Democrat deputies, meanwhile, have joined Nassauer in explaining why they too will not be posting their details on the Parliamentary website.
Marialiese Flemming said: "The Austrians who elected me know what I am earning so I don't find it necessary to reveal it on the internet." German Christa Klass said: "If someone asks, I am willing to give my financial details but I don't see why I should publish them on the internet." Her compatriots, Peter Michael Mombaur and Karsten Knolle, echoed that view. Mombaur said: "The registers in the European Parliament are public while publication on the internet poses the danger of data being manipulated."
It was clear from statements made to European Voice that some MEPs believe joining the online register means declaring their precise income. "This is not the object of our Campaign for Transparency," said editor Dennis Abbott. "The idea is for MEPs to declare, for instance, whether they sit on company boards or have second careers, to avoid potential conflicts of interest. It's not about how much they earn." Financial declarations by MEPs were posted online for the first time in July. They are not, however, immediately visible; the document detailing interests has to be downloaded first. Reformers say the posting of financial interests is crucial for public confidence. All MEPs in the Green and Liberal groups have their details posted.
MEPs who want to inform the Parliamentary website about their interests at www.europarl.eu.int can also register them with European Voice by fax on 32/2 540 9071 or by email email@example.com.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|