Lost opportunity for transparency on Cañete corruption allegations
The decision, which resulted from agreement between the majority of the groups, has continued the lack of transparency over the Cañete case, and is expected to lead to a further loss of citizens' trust in the EU institutions.
GUE/NGL President, Gabi Zimmer, stated: “We are experiencing a growing distrust from the population towards the EU and its institutions. Cases of corruption further undermine people´s confidence and are completely unacceptable.”
“The European Commission has the responsibility to clarify and respond to the serious allegations against Commissioner Cañete in the most transparent and public manner. For its citizens and for its own credibility, the EU must show transparency, especially when it comes to corruption and abuse of office.
“Therefore, it is reckless and irresponsible not to call on the Commission to defend itself in front of the citizens' representatives in the plenary.”
While the issue will not go on next week's plenary agenda, a hearing will be held in the Parliament's Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee over the corruption allegations against Cañete at some time in future, but GUE/NGL MEPs believe that greater public accountability is required.
Spanish MEP, Xabier Benito Ziluaga, highlights that “the appearance of Commissioner Cañete in a JURI Committee hearing must be considered as a first step on the path toward public transparency and accountability on this matter. This first step has been achieved thanks to the effort of GUE/NGL”.
“When it comes to allegations of corruption, every politician and public institution must act with complete transparency and without half measures. Without a set date and without an explanation before the plenary, the 'grand coalition' are giving the public the idea that they are protecting Cañete in some way”.
“Today we have also seen the first step on the path in which the European Parliament will analyse if Cañete is the right person to be a Commissioner, and I am sure that he will be proved unfit for the role”.
Spanish MEP, Marina Albiol, adds: “Cañete's appearance in the JURI hearing is insufficient. He is obliged to appear and give explanations before the whole European Parliament and before European citizens. We insist that he must appear in the plenary. And if that does not happen it is because, once again, the S&D group have acted like the Commissioner’s bodyguards preferring to protect him from a higher level scandal.”
“From the beginning we have maintained the same position: Juncker should have removed Cañete from his office. Now that OLAF has confirmed they are investigating the Acuamed case with the Spanish prosecutor, if Cañete does not clarify everything in the JURI hearing, Juncker will have to remove him or end up being his accomplice.
“Acuamed and many other cases show that corruption in the Partido Popular extends all the way to Brussels. We should also not forget the ‘Taula’ case where there is evidence indicating illegal financing of the Partido Popular during the European elections of 2014, when Cañete was the head of the list.”
President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, will now set a date for the hearing in conjunction with the Chair of the JURI Committee. It is expected that the date will be set after the Spanish general election in an attempt to avoid further damage to the reputation of Cañete and further loss of votes for his Partido Popular.
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75