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Parliament ready to sanction President’s unethical practices

What if the European Parliament refused to give its discharge to the European Court of Auditors (ECA), itself responsible for controlling the proper management of Community money? Since the revelations of Release in November 2021 on the practices of certain members of the institution – each of the twenty-seven appoints their representative there –, including its president, the German Klaus-Heiner Lehne, this scenario is one of the possibilities. “Housing allowances for fictitious homes”, “abuse of expense reports”, “unverified missions”…, the list of misdeeds revealed by the daily is long.

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“Who controls the controller? », asks the Spanish Socialist MEP, Isabel García Muñoz, while the CEC, for which some 900 civil servants work, is the sole master of its budget. In this context, the Social Democrat MEPs (S&D) as well as the Liberals (Renew), the Greens and those of the radical left (GUE) refuse to give a blank check to the financial policeman of the European Union, whose actions and gestures seem to spiral out of control.

On Monday February 28, in the European Parliament’s budget control committee, they should not vote on the discharge of the Luxembourg institution for 2020 – a procedure by which they are supposed to validate the fact that the budget for the year has been executed in a manner satisfactory – and should take a few more months, until October, to decide. “Too many questions remain unanswered”, explains the elected Green Daniel Freund. Before continuing: “A President of the Court of Auditors should be exemplary and not maximize his personal advantages. In view of Lehne’s behavior, one wonders if he can still exercise his function in an exemplary manner. »

“A president of the Court of Auditors should be exemplary and not maximize his personal advantages”, Daniel Freund, elected Green

The Renew liberals, whose macronists represent the first delegation, were divided on the subject, but finally decided, too, to request the postponement of the discharge. If the practices “of Lehne are not ethical, they were not therefore illegal”, specifies the Belgian Olivier Chastel. But the chosen one points ” Mischief ” responses provided by the CEC and considers that they are not up to the present day. “We asked questions, we have to content ourselves with the answers, since the European Parliament has no powers of investigation. And we should be satisfied with it as if nothing had happened? », adds his macronist colleague Pierre Karleskind.

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