Last week, the European Parliament voted on whether there should be “clarifications on financing of the “Conference on the Future of Europe” when it comes to “the conditions for financing this conference and the consequences for the [European Parliament]’s budget”.
The amendment also asked MEPs to support “a commitment to full transparency on the expenditure of this conference, including the keeping of separate accounts and an audit report by the European Court of Auditors for each year of functioning”
Guess how MEPs voted on this?
You’d think it’s a no-brainer for all MEPs to support this. Even proponents of the “future of Europe” talking shop shouldn’t have any problem with full transparency, right?
The whole thing was voted down with 329 MEPs voting in favour, 360 against, and 10 abstaining.
Here’s a breakdown (SOURCE):
Almost everyone in EPP, ECR and ID supported transparency, with some notable dissent from the group line.
The great proponents of CoFoE, the “pro-European” “Renew” group and the greens, unanimously rejected transparency. Also the socialists and the far left mostly voted against, but at least a few among them still supported the idea.
With so few votes making the difference it is hard to understand how MEPs from transparency-minded Nordic and Western European Member States could vote to reject transparency in such a blatant manner. Did they think people wouldn’t notice?
Noteworthy is that the co-chair of the Executive Board of the Conference, Guy Verhofstadt (Renew, BE) voted against transparency. The EPP representative on the Board voted in favor while the socialist voted against. Of the observers on the Executive Board only Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR, PL) voted for transparency. Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA, DE) and Helmut Scholz (The Left, DE) voted against. In a bizarre twist Gerolf Annemans (ID, BE) abstained. He is observer for the same ID group that tabled the amendment.
Just when you thought the “Conference on the Future of Europe” was a rather extreme example of Brussels navel-gazing, there’s the European Parliament – an institution supposed to scrutinize EU policy making – to take it one step further and publicly reject financial transparency.