France is urging the European Union to establish a separate regulatory body to combat corruption within the EU institutions, as they have been plagued by ongoing scandals in recent months.
French officials President Emmanuel Macron and Secretary of State for European Affairs Laurence Boone have put forth a suggestion for a separate organization dedicated to preventing corruption. This entity would be granted the authority to review the earnings of officials and identify any potential conflicts of interest, according to Boone’s interview with POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook.
Currently, they are advocating for other EU nations to support the proposal.
In the beginning of this year, the European Commission suggested establishing an ethics organization with ambitious objectives but lacking authority to enforce regulations throughout EU institutions, in order to demonstrate their dedication to anti-corruption efforts. However, according to Boone and other critics of the proposal, this is insufficient.
“The initial proposal by the Commission is a positive step, however, I believe we have the capability and obligation to strive for even greater goals,” Boone expressed. “In light of the impact of various corruption scandals, it is imperative that we regain the trust of citizens in our institutions.”
As she prepares for the 2024 EU election, Boone is working to increase her visibility. She is currently vying for the leadership of Macron’s Renew list, along with other prominent party members like Stéphane Séjourné, the president of the Renew group in the European Parliament.
The trust of citizens in institutions has been impacted by a series of scandals that have caused shockwaves throughout the EU. These include the Qatargate controversy that disrupted the European Parliament in December of last year.
Earlier this year, POLITICO disclosed that multiple commissioners have taken sponsored trips. One high-ranking official accepted complimentary flights from Qatar Airways while his team was in talks for an aviation agreement with Doha. Another senior official did not disclose their ownership of a luxurious hotel in Bali.
Boone stated the necessity for an impartial governing body equipped with effective measures to avoid future scandals.
It would mirror France’s own High Authority for Transparency in Public Life, which investigates bank accounts, assets, and incomes of public servants to make sure they don’t have conflicts of interest, and which has the power to refer cases to prosecutors if officials fail to meet transparency requirements.
Reporting was provided by Marion Solletty.