The EPP Group will today abstain in the final vote on Parliament's Initiative Report asking for an Independent Ethics Body (IEB). While the EPP Groups calls for high ethical standards for politicians, it fears that the Report in its current form violates basic principles of rule of law and democracy.
“Anyone who holds public office must meet high ethical standards. Conflicts of interest must be avoided and lobbyists becoming politicians or vice-versa need clear rules. This is why an Independent Ethics Body can give important guidance in such questions”, explained EPP Group negotiator Rainer Wieland MEP.
"We will abstain in recognition that some improvements have been made during the course of the negotiations on what was initially a completely unacceptable Report. The EPP Group supports improvements in the implementation of ethics regulations, but we do not agree with the structure of the ethics authority proposed in the Report", Wieland continued.
Such an Ethics Body must not damage the democratic rights of Parliament nor abrogate the rule of law. “In all democracies, it is the central role of Parliaments to scrutinise and approve the government. An Ethics Body cannot take this right away from Parliament. It may assist the European Parliament with non-binding confidential proposals, but the approval process of the European Commission must remain in the hands of the European Parliament, which is legitimated by the citizens. This is also a right we have fought hard for over several years”, stressed Wieland.
“The Ethics Body, as proposed in the parliamentary Report by a Green MEP, is a direct attack against the separation of powers, which is a cornerstone of the rule of law. The Ethics Body cannot and must not replace police, prosecutors and judges at the same time. It must also not be a superpower over both the legislative and executive branches of the European Union”, said Wieland.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 179 Members from all EU Member States