The European People’s Party (EPP) yesterday (29 March) passed a resolution claiming that scandals in its national member parties won’t be tolerated. euractiv.com reports from Malta.
In the resolution, which was adopted by the EPP congress yesterday, EU centre-right leaders committed to keeping the fight against corruption “high on the agenda of European Union institutions as well as among member parties of the EPP political family”.
For the EPP, corruption is seen as a “grave social injustice” that wrongly diverts public funds and resources towards “wrongful or irregular ends, at the expense of taxpayers and those most vulnerable in society”, the resolution noted.
“We will not accept or tolerate any kind of corruption in our own ranks,” the resolution added.
EURACTIV was informed that François Fillon’s scandal-hit campaign to become France’s next president has raised eyebrows in the EPP family. But no right-wing leader has withdrawn support from him.
Sources also said that the intention of the party’s leadership is to “clean up the situation” with some center-right parties in the Balkans, as well in non-EU countries like Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.
But at the same time, the EPP wants to send an indirect message to French conservative Fillon, the same sources insisted.
Daul: Not about Fillon
Asked by EURACTIV if the resolution is referring to a specific case, EPP President Joseph Daul claimed that the resolution was generalised and does not focus on particular people.
He said that the EPP, like many other European political parties, has not been immune to corruption.
“We acknowledge the problem, take responsibility and deal with it,” he added, underlining that a process has been launched to put in place a binding code of ethics with clear consequences for anyone who breaks the rules.
Referring to Fillon, he said that the French justice system was looking into what is going on and added that other countries with independent justice systems are also “looking at these matters”.
“I trust the justice system. I was in all the papers and five years after there was nothing found on me. That was very hard personally and for my family as well,” the French politician said.
But he does not have the same view of the Balkans and other countries.
“When it comes to corruption in the Balkans or other countries the justice system is not independent and the corruption cannot be tackled,” he said.
“This is what I and the EPP are worried about. We must not be afraid of tackling this matter. It’s not my job to point fingers but where there is not an independent justice system we must be much harder,” the EPP leader stressed.
“Corruptions scandals at any level of the parties is everything that the EPP deplores and we must ensure that rules apply to all equally, and our politicians are accountable in the best possible way to their people,” the French politician concluded.