Dokumentation: Erklärung des Präsidenten des Europaparlaments Pat Cox zu den Dokumenten, die der Europaabgeordnete Hans-Peter Martin zur Begründung seiner Vorwürfe gegen Europarlamentarier vorgelegt hat
On Wednesday of the last session, I made a statement to the House about a number of newspaper articles and television reports concerning allegations made about Members of this House, purportedly on the basis of interviews and comments given by one of our Members, Mr Hans-Peter Martin. I informed the House at that time that, when allegations are made, they are thoroughly and promptly investigated by the relevant services, and appropriate action is taken. I went on to invite Mr Martin, if he had information concerning possible wrongdoing, misuse of funds or irregularities, to draw these to my attention, so that they could be appropriately investigated. It was his duty as a Member of this House.
Belatedly, late on Monday night, he sent me a letter, which makes detailed criticisms of the allowance system that we have for Members. He further makes specific allegations, two concerning meetings of a political group outside the working places, and he further lists 7000 cases where Members have claimed allowances in circumstances which he claims to be inappropriate, for example, when Members have signed the central attendance register and not attendance lists for parliamentary meetings.
As regards the specific points, I have obviously asked the political group concerned to give me further information about the two meetings indicated. On the more general point of the central attendance register, it is clear to me that Mr Martin is criticising the system and a specific rule, but there is no indication whatsoever that Members have broken the rules of the House.
On the wider point, he fails to acknowledge the very important progress which has been made by Parliament in reforming its rules and regulations to ensure greater transparency and accountability, and to respond promptly to any points that have been brought to our attention by the Court of Auditors in its annual or its specific reports, and which have highlighted possible shortcomings in our rules.
Specific reforms on travel allowances, on the secretarial allowance and on other allowances have been decided by the Bureau and by the Quaestors, under the presidencies of Klaus Hänsch, José Maria Gil Robles, Nicole Fontaine and during my mandate.
At the outset of my mandate, I sought a global reform which had two main elements:
fair treatment of Members, on the basis of equality;
transparency on allowances to be based on costs incurred.
Until the beginning of this year, we were hopeful, because we had made the compromises necessary, that Council could agree to this package. At the very last moment, a minority of Member States blocked this reform. This has not prevented the Bureau and other bodies of this House from examining further reforms on an incremental basis.
It would have been more helpful and more fruitful, in my view, had Mr Hans-Peter Martin associated himself with this drive for reform in committee and in plenary, rather than conducting a campaign, the main purpose of which appears to have been to seek to discredit the Institution, to call into question the honour of Members of this House, to wreak maximum damage on zero evidence to individuals, their career and their families.
In the times we live, it is very easy to blacken the reputation of public figures. It is extremely difficult to counteract slurs and partial information once these have been launched in certain sections of the press.
The rules and regulations of this House are a work in progress. Historically, this is still a new parliament, constantly evolving. We have to find systems that are fair for elected representatives from 25 Member States.
One area which has not been regulated concerns the behaviour of Members. It is my personal view, however, that the secret filming of Members and the secret recording of their conversations, is not acceptable in any circumstances, least of all when this is being done by a Member of this House. These are methods that are reminiscent of another time and another place. When we are talking about standards of behaviour in this House, the way in which we behave towards each other is an important consideration.
This House has always stood up for the rights of whistle-blowers, but we also expect that whistle-blowers exhaust proper procedures. Here, it appears to me that no attempt has been made to use the normal procedures of this House, which have been bypassed in a grotesque attempt to maximise personal publicity.
I shall reply to Mr Martin in detail. The specific cases that he raises will be looked into with the cooperation of the Members and the groups concerned. But, on the basis of what he himself has sent me, there is zero evidence to support his claims of wrongdoing or breaches of the rules. Let me place on record my deep disapproval of the methods employed by Mr Hans-Peter Martin.