By Matilde Manzi, Transparency International EU
Putting Integrity First
The European Parliament elections this year are an opportunity for democratic renewal, a renewal that places integrity, openness and fairness at the heart of the European Union. Transparency International is calling on candidates for the European Parliament and the Presidency of the European Commission to commit themselves to this renewal, in their own efforts and in the institutions that they shall govern.
The authors of the EU’s founding treaty were determined to “eliminate the barriers which divide Europe”. Over 60 years later, corruption remains one of the main barriers to realising the original vision of a Union built on the rule of law, democratic cooperation and social justice. Corruption is a barrier to increased investment and prosperity, to fair competition, to innovation, to sustainable development, to improved security, and to greater trust in institutions. Perhaps most importantly, it also fuels the growing inequality that is one of the biggest barriers that divide the people of Europe today.
The EU has a long history of promoting good governance, the rule of law and anti-corruption reform, notably as part of its enlargement to the south and east. The reforms carried out as a condition of membership have undoubtedly helped to reduce corruption and improved the lot of hundreds of millions of citizens who are most vulnerable. These reforms have also inspired similar initiatives across the Union, as no Member State has remained untouched by serious and high-level corruption scandals. But these gains are fragile and reversible. They need constant attention and renewal.
That is why Transparency International has agreed an ambitious agenda for the next five years that would protect the rule of law in the EU and those who wish to defend it ; that would prevent corrupt individuals benefiting from the freedoms enjoyed by law-abiding EU citizens; and that would make the EU institutions an example to others of how to legislate with integrity and transparency.
Our agenda is ambitious, yet constructive and achievable. As part of a wider programme of reform they would show how the European Union is, first and foremost, a means to protect the fundamental rights of its citizens and remove the barriers that frustrate their potential.
These suggestions for improvement are born of 25 years’ experience in the fight against corruption, and a deep and abiding commitment to our mission. We affirm that tackling corruption is inseparable from the protection of the most vulnerable people in our society and is strongly connected to the defence of human rights. It is cornerstone to achieving the transition to a more sustainable society and is central to the rule of law and democratic institutions.
Transparency International wants the European Union to:
- ENFORCE THE RULE OF LAW IN THE EU
- PREVENT CORRUPT INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR ILLICIT MONEY FROM ENTERING THE EU
- SUPPORT AN INDEPENDENT EU ETHICS BODY
- SUPPORT LEGISLATIVE TRANSPARENCY
Pledge for European Parliament Candidates
Transparency International calls on Candidates in the European Elections to pledge the following:
- To be transparent and ethical in all my parliamentary activity. I will therefore publish details on the use of my allowances, only accept meetings with registered lobbyists and publish my meetings with them online.
- To ‘cool-off’ after leaving the European Parliament. Meaning that I will not lobby for an organisation on the EU Transparency Register while I still receive the transitional allowance.
- To support the creation of an independent body for ethics oversight that monitors conflicts of interest, the revolving door and lobby transparency.
If you are a candidate for the 2019 European Elections and want to support ‘Stand up for Integrity’, please click here and fill in the form.Want to know more? Get in touch with Matilde Manzi, firstname.lastname@example.org