The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament view the Commission’s long-awaited proposal for an EU ethics body as a missed opportunity.
The S&D Group is particularly disappointed that the new body under these proposals would have neither investigative powers nor the ability to impose sanctions when rules are broken. Under the Commission’s plans, the body lacks both the powers and resources to effectively strengthen integrity and accountability in the EU institutions. The proposals fail to answer the Parliament’s longstanding and repeated demands for a body based on an inter-institutional agreement on common standards that apply equally to all institutions.
The S&D Group has requested a debate on the EU Ethics Body be added to the agenda of the upcoming plenary session (12-15 June) to raise concerns about the proposals put forward by the Commission.
Gaby Bischoff, vice-president of the S&D Group, said:
“This is a complete missed opportunity. We asked for an independent ethics body with a scrutiny mandate for the EU institutions and agencies. It needs to have the resources and the staff to fulfil its tasks before the end of this term. The Commission’s proposal is not ambitious enough and it does not constitute a real ethics body.
“Without the right to start an investigation on its own initiative, the proposal lacks the teeth to apply the same ethics standards across all EU institutions. We don’t need a new European ‘body’ that only establishes minimum common standards or only promotes a culture of ethics. We need an EU Ethics Body that deserves its name.
“Business as usual is not an option if we want to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the EU institutions. Given this proposal falls short of our expectations as a Group, as rapporteur for changes to the rules of procedure, my focus will now be on strengthening the work of the European Parliament’s advisory committee.”