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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MEP claims he is innocent of corruption, just guilty of vanity

The Sunday Times’ expose has certainly shaken the bees nest at the European Parliament. So far four MEPs have been caught out, on video, agreeing to table amendments to EU directives in return for the promise of cash. However, despite being caught well and truly with their hands in the till, two MEPs are still professing their innocence to the charges and refuse to step down.

The latest to be busted is the Spanish MEP Pablo Zalban, who seems intent on bringing down the reputation of the European Parliament and his EPP party in the process.

In a comment revealing of his integrity, he told El Mundo yesterday that he met with the journalists posing as lobbyists “because I am well mannered” and also because the undercover journalist “was very good looking”.

After three meetings, Zalban actually put forward one amendment, out of two, that the undercover journalists suggested.

“One of these I rejected, but the second, after consulting with the assistants from the EPP, we thought it would enrich and improve the report because it protects small investors and goes in the same direction of consumer associations, and for this I incorporated it”, he said.

What will concern many is that Zalban claims that he acted “in all moments under the norms of the European Parliament” but was a victim of a "trap".


Anonymous said...

Based on the information in this blog post, Zalban did nothing wrong. There is no rule against having meetings with citizens/journalists/lobbyists or anyone else. Also there is no rule against submitting amendments. In this case, Zablan is saying that he agreed with the amendment he put forward. Whether the amendment survived or not would depend not just on him, but on all the members of the relevant Committee. Of course I understand that Open Europe has a political motive to make us believe that some kind of crime or corruption has taken place. But in this particular case I don't think the evidence supports such a conclusion.

J.E. said...

It may not be a crime, but that is a weak defence; is is a moral crime against his profession. An MEP is supposed to represent his constituents and the interests of his constituents, not those of some lobbyist. Why not stop calling the EP a "Parliament" and just make it a big playground for businessmen to enact laws which suit them?

Anonymous said...

Vanity or stupidity - At least these guys have been caught. 100's of others play the system legally and defraud ordinary people who put them there and pay them using the rules to cream the system. Many of these are no better than highway robbers who chose a gravy train rathe rthan having to wear a patch and fly the jolly roger!

Anonymous said...

so Buzek believes that OLAF can conduct a thorough investigation with both arms tied behind its back?

Not systemic corruption then?