EM Germany Newsletter CW 51/2022 | Transparency in the EU
Trust in political decisions and democratic procedures is crucial, especially today, in times of war and disinformation. Corruption undermines this trust.
The scandal surrounding Eva Kaili, the now discharged Vice President of the European Parliament, is a shocking end to the year for European politics, which in recent years has been far more progressive than many member states in anti-corruption measures and transparent policymaking. The European Parliament in particular has played a pioneering role in this area for years. It has been and continues to be a role model for the German Bundestag as well. Moreover, we should be grateful to the Belgian authorities. Because, in Germany, the public prosecutor’s office would probably not have taken action in similar cases.
As our #EBDGraphik shows, there continue to be transparency gaps in the European Parliament that need to be closed. An important key factor is the establishment of an independent European Ethics Body that can detect and punish corruption and conflicts of interest for all EU institutions. In July 2021, the European Parliament already presented a concrete idea of how this body should work. The European Commission is also focussing on the issue, but it is mainly the member states in the Council of Ministers that are currently not pushing for more anti-corruption rules, partly also because it has not been a priority within the German government so far.
From the perspective of EM Germany, member states and EU institutions should work together to build and coordinate a system of integrity and accountability. Therefore, we will be monitoring the issue of transparency in the EU even more closely in 2023. The synergies from our mutual membership with Transparency International Germany as well as our cooperation with the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly will support us.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2023.
Dr. Linn Selle
President of the European Movement Germany
EM Germany News
Emily O’Reilly has been the European Ombudsman since 2013. In her office, she investigates complaints about maladministration in the activities of the institutions and bodies of the European Union. Any EU citizen can contact her with a complaint about maladministration using this form.
As stated in its working priorities (in German), the EM Germany works closely with the European Ombudsman.
Her statement on the current corruption scandal in the European Parliament:
„The corruption scandal in the European Parliament should be a wake-up call for the entire EU administration. While MEPs are currently in the spotlight, EU staff as well as national ministers and ambassadors are targets for lobbying, including by EU third countries. The EU’s ethics and anti-corruption system needs to be strengthened to withstand this pressure. Rules on „switching sides“ and meeting lobbyists must be implemented and conflicts of interest regulated.“
A longer commentary on the topic by Emily O’Reilly can also be found in the EU Observer.
EM Germany News
Aid for Ukraine and a compromise on energy policy – EM germany De-Briefing European Council | At the European Council meeting on Dec. 15, 2022 (EUCO), the Russian war of aggression, the energy crisis and the European Security and Defense Policy were on the agenda. At the De-Briefing on December 20, Anke Meyer, Commissioner for EU Coordination and EU Sectoral Policies at the Federal Foreign Office (AA), and Dr. Kirsten Scholl, Head of the European Policy Division at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK), reported on the key outcomes to the approximately 100 participants. The two De-Briefers particularly highlighted the granting of candidate country status to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In his statement, Dr. Jörg Wojahn, representative of the EU Commission in Germany, also referred to the geopolitical importance of this decision. In her first comment, EM Germany President Dr. Linn Selle stressed the importance of transparency for the EU institutions. | More (in German)
Strengthening transparency in the EU – EM Germany Secretary General and TI Board Member Bernd Hüttemann in interview | Following the allegations of corruption in the European Parliament, EM Germany Secretary General Bernd Hüttemann spoke out in several interviews in favor of clear regulation of lobbying and organized interest representation at the European level. As a board member of Transparency International, he pleaded for the establishment of an independent ethics commission in his contributions to the Zeit Online podcast „Was jetzt?“, the WDR format „Cosmo Italiano“ and on Deutschlandfunk Nova. In an interview with Bild-Live, he also emphasized that the EU Parliament is one of the most transparent parliaments in Europe, despite what is currently happening. The demand of the EM Germany policy for more transparency in the EU was reiterated by both EM Germany board member Funda Tekin and Bernd Hüttemann in their appearances for Phoenix.
International Anti-Corruption Day | On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, EM Germany Secretary General Bernd Hüttemann also gave an interview to the magazine Scheinwerfer, which is published by EM Germany member organization Transparency International Germany. In it, he shed light on the background to the planned Rule of Law conditionality mechanism measures against Hungary. The European Commission initiated the procedure against Hungary in 2022 due to restrictions on press freedom and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community as well as the lack of independence of the judiciary. | More (in German)
Women of Europe Awards 2022 | The seventh Women of Europe Awards ceremony, hosted by European Movement International (EMI), took place in Brussels on December 8. On behalf of EM Germany, the delegation traveled to Brussels with the winners of the German Women of Europe Award Dr. Gudrun Schmidt-Kärner, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Lisi Maier as well as EBD board member Sabine Overkämping. | More (in German)
No breakthrough on the law on platform work – EM germany De-Briefing EPSCO | At the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) on 08.12.2022 the subject of discussion was the draft EU law on platform work. As part of our De-Briefing on December 12, Florian Schierle, European Affairs Officer at the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS), and Johanna Wöran, Deputy Head of Unit EU at the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), provided information on the missed unity of the member states on the draft law. The digital event was moderated by Markus Vennewald, European Policy Officer at the EM Germany. | More (in German)
In order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the EM Germany hosts its events as video conferences whenever possible.
17.01.2023 | EM Germany De-Briefing on the Swedish Council Presidency with H.E. Per Thöresson, Swedish Ambassador in Berlin, Sibylle Katharina Sorg, Federal Foreign Office (AA) and Dr. Kirsten Scholl, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The first commentary will be given by Jörg Wojahn, representative of the European Commission in Germany, and Dr. Linn Selle, President of the European Movement Germany.
Our Presidency Calendar on the Czech EU Council Presidency contains all dates of the semester.
Check out former editions of our newsletter here.
Please sign up here if you’d like to receive the newsletter (in German).