UKIP and Tories oppose transparent enquiries - 2012-05-24
Tory MEPs yesterday exposed their hypocrisy on the EU when they opposed openness and transparency in the European Parliament.
Labour's David Martin is responsible for getting legislation on inproving European-level Committees of Inquiry through the European Parliament. The proposals came before the Strasbourg Parliament yesterday. Previous inquiries by the European Parliament - which have included Equitable Life and BSE - have lacked the power to summon the right people and obtain the documents to get to the bottom of the issue.
"All we're asking for is for European legislation to be subject to the same scrutiny when things have gone wrong as it is in the member states of the EU. Look at the success of the House of Commons summoning Rupert Murdoch from the States and making him account for his actions," said David Martin.
"Tories think they are being anti-European by denying elected MEPs the power to call key witnesses. They are just posing. They either believe in transparency or they don't - it's the same principle whether it's in Brussels or Bradford.
"Their UKIP friends have out-posed them, as Nigel Farage started to tell his friends in the media that my proposals would have given the European Parliament power to summon the British queen. It's nonsense!
"All we want is sensible reform, for example to be able to get to the appropriate desk officer, who sometimes has information that higher ups do not want to know or do not know.
"The European Parliament's Equitable Life Inquiry, for example, concluded that the Parliament lacked the ability to get to the truth, because we could not speak to the people involved. Also, we couldn't ensure access to right documents and there were no consequences for people not telling us the truth.
"European Governments will have to agree to the proposals from the European Parliament, and I want to work together with them. I hope David Cameron and his LibDem coalition partners prove more interested in the principle of keeping European law accountable than the narrow business of scoring petty political points.
"It was Bob Dylan who said "Truth is an arrow and the gate is narrow that it passes through".
"Committees of Inquiry obviously can't hand down any sentences. We as a Parliament should simply have the option of publishing the final report, recommending new laws in light of loopholes uncovered, or refer the issue to the competent authorities, but our role ends once the committee concludes its findings. It's the same in most parliaments in member state governments," the MEP said.
The Lisbon Treaty formalised the European Parliament's right to reform temporary Committees of Inquiry, which can be tasked with investigating alleged contraventions or maladministration in the implementation of EU law.
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