The European Parliament gave the green light today to the discharge of the Parliament's budget after including heavy criticism in the Report of the conduct of its President Martin Schulz, who is the Party of European Socialist's lead candidate for the European elections. MEPs called on Schulz to step down as Parliament President in order not to confuse his role with that of candidate.
Political neutrality of the function of Parliament President needs to be respected
A large majority of 365 MEPs with only 190 against (82 abstentions) approved today's Report on the discharge of the European Parliament budget, which contains the following article:
The President's political activities
49. Calls for detailed information on how the President, as a politically neutral figure, has kept his duties in office separate from his preparations to head the Socialists and Democrats' list in the European elections, in particular with regard to the staff in his cabinet and in Parliament's information offices and to travel expenses; is of the opinion that in connection with many of those activities, no distinction has been made between the two roles; calls for clear segregation of office holders' functions, following the Commission's approach, so that Union taxpayers do not have to pay for the election campaigns of European list leaders;
Martin Schulz must get off the pitch and step down from office in order not to confuse the role of politically neutral Parliament President with that of lead candidate of the European Socialist Party Inge Gräßle
“Parliament is showing the red card to its own President. Martin Schulz must get off the pitch and step down from office in order not to confuse the role of politically neutral Parliament President with that of lead candidate of the European Socialist Party”, the EPP Group's Coordinator in the Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament, Inge Gräßle MEP (Germany) said.
Censorship by the Parliament President cannot be accepted
Gräßle described as “outright censorship” the fact that Schulz, in his capacity as President, deleted an article of the Discharge Report which was critical of his own role. “The self-styled defender of parliamentary rights Martin Schulz has finally come out as a censor who deletes an article in a parliamentary Report that is critical of his own conduct in office”, she said.
The article deleted by Schulz, on which the plenary of the European Parliament was not allowed to vote, reads:
47. Criticises the fact that an OLAF Supervisory Committee Report to Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control was not forwarded to it by the President but, rather, was held back for more than two months; criticises the fact that there was a three-month delay before Parliament's Administration forwarded witness summonses from a Belgian court to the three Members concerned; criticises the fact that the Committee on Budgetary Control was hampered in its work because a hearing on the work of the Task Force for Greece was cancelled and a hearing on 'Governance – the European Commission as an administrative authority' was held up for more than a year;