Promised since 2019, the European Commission will tomorrow finally present its proposal on the establishment of an ‘EU Ethics body’. A name behind which there seems to be nothing. If the European Commission goes ahead with a toothless ethics body, it will be without Renew Europe’s support. We continue to call for an independent EU Ethics body with strong prerogatives, as adopted by the European Parliament:
- Monitoring: the EU Ethics body should monitor ethics standards with, for example, the ability to verify the veracity of the declaration of interests, to monitor transparency obligations and the revolving doors rules.
- Advising: this body should be a point of reference and give advice on ethical rules and their interpretation for Commissioners, Members of the European Parliament and staff of the EU institutions.
- Investigating: the EU Ethics body should have strong investigative powers and be able to initiate procedures in close cooperation with all competent authorities.
However, according to reports, the long-awaited and repeatedly postponed legislative proposal will not meet these expectations, nor those of citizens. We are afraid the European Commission has chosen weakness, influenced by conservative politicians who fear real transparency.
Stéphane Séjourné, President of Renew Europe, said:
"Europe deserves better than half-baked proposals. We need an independent ethics body with investigative powers, not a toothless bulldog. Europe’s conservative politicians must stop burying their heads in the sand and learn the lessons of the Qatargate scandal. We are afraid that the proposals will completely miss the point of the position of the Parliament".
Gilles Boyer (L’Europe Ensemble, France), Renew Europe shadow rapporteur on the resolutions calling for an independent EU Ethics body added:
"We collectively need a body with investigative powers to be able to prevent, rather than cure and risk undermining the confidence of our citizens. The independence of this body is also key. It would be totally incomprehensible if the institutions kept controlling themselves. The position of the European Parliament is clear and must be an integral part of the Commission's proposal".