Procedure : 2017/2063(IMM)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0259/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0259/2017

Debates :

Votes :

PV 12/09/2017 - 7.1

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0317

REPORT     
PDF 252kWORD 48k
17.7.2017
PE 606.038v03-00 A8-0259/2017

on the request for waiver of the immunity of Marie-Christine Boutonnet

(2017/2063(IMM))

Committee on Legal Affairs

Rapporteur: Heidi Hautala

PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on the request for waiver of the immunity of Marie-Christine Boutonnet

(2017/2063(IMM))

–  having regard to the application for waiver of the immunity of Marie-Christine Boutonnet forwarded on 14 April 2017 by the French Ministry of Justice, on the basis of a request made by the Prosecutor-General at the Paris Court of Appeal, and announced in plenary on 26 April 2017 in connection with a case pending before Examining Magistrates at the Paris Regional Court pertaining to a judicial investigation on grounds of breach of trust in connection with funds received by virtue of the parliamentary assistant’s contract of a named individual,

–  having heard Jean-François Jalkh, replacing Marie-Christine Boutonnet, in accordance with Rule 9(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964, 10 July 1986, 15 and 21 October 2008, 19 March 2010, 6 September 2011 and 17 January 2013(1),

–  having regard to Article 26 of the Constitution of the French Republic,

–  having regard to Rule 5(2), Rule 6(1) and Rule 9 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0259/2017),

Α.  whereas Examining Magistrates at the Paris Regional Court have requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Marie-Christine Boutonnet in order to hear her in connection with a suspected criminal offence;

Β.  whereas, pursuant to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members of the European Parliament enjoy, in the territory of their own state, the immunities accorded to members of their national parliament;

C.  whereas Article 26 of the French Constitution states that ‘No Member of Parliament shall be arrested for a serious crime or other major offence, nor shall he be subjected to any other custodial or semi-custodial measure, without the authorisation of the Bureau of the House of which he is a member. Such authorisation shall not be required in the case of a serious crime or other major offence committed flagrante delicto or when a conviction has become final’;

D.  whereas the examining magistrates consider that the investigations conducted during the preliminary inquiry and the judicial investigation suggest that the initial suspicions raised by the European Parliament regarding a certain number of parliamentary assistants of Members of the European Parliament affiliated to the Front National may be justified;

E.  whereas, in particular, it appears that the Front National establishment plan published in February 2015 showed that it listed 15 Members of the European Parliament, 21 local parliamentary assistants and 5 accredited parliamentary assistants; whereas a certain number of parliamentary assistants declared that their place of employment was the headquarters of the Front National in Nanterre, in some cases indicating that they were employed there full-time; whereas most of the employment contracts of the parliamentary assistants described identical, general tasks, without entering into any detail;

F.  whereas the investigations also revealed three situations which made it seem unlikely that the assistants concerned were genuinely working on duties connected with the European Parliament:

• European parliamentary assistants’ employment contracts interspersed between two employment contracts for the Front National;

• European parliamentary assistants’ employment contracts for the European Parliament and employment contracts for the Front National running concurrently;

• employment contracts for the Front National concluded for periods immediately following periods covered by European parliamentary assistants’ employment contracts;

G.  whereas during a search conducted at the headquarters of the Front National in February 2016, a number of documents were seized in the office of the treasurer of the Front National, which bore witness to this party’s desire to make ‘savings’ thanks to the European Parliament’s defraying the remuneration of employees of the party by virtue of their capacity as parliamentary assistants;

H.  whereas the examining magistrates consider it necessary to hear Marie-Christine Boutonnet’s explanations concerning the funds received under the contract of a certain named parliamentary assistant; whereas that assistant was charged on 6 March 2017 with concealing a breach of trust between September 2014 and February 2015; whereas when questioned by the two examining magistrates, the assistant invoked his right to remain silent;

I.  whereas Marie-Christine Boutonnet refused to enter an appearance in response to the summonses from the investigators and the examining magistrates issued with a view to establishing whether she should be charged with a breach of trust between 2009 and 2016;

J.  whereas Marie-Christine Boutonnet explained her refusal to appear as summoned, invoking her European parliamentary immunity and stating that she had ‘not only the right but indeed the obligation to submit to the European Parliament the possibility that [she] might appear before a judicial authority to account for the organisation of [her] parliamentary work’;

K.  whereas it appears that Marie-Christine Boutonnet has since been heard by the examining magistrates in Paris;

L.  whereas it is nonetheless appropriate to waive the immunity of the Member concerned, since only Parliament is entitled to waive a Member’s immunity;

M.  whereas there is clearly a case to answer and there is no evidence of fumus persecutionis, particularly in view of the fact that proceedings are under way on the basis of similar charges against Members belonging to other Political Groups and of other nationalities;

1.  Decides to waive the immunity of Marie-Christine Boutonnet;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its committee responsible immediately to the French authorities and to Marie-Christine Boutonnet.

(1)

Judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 May 1964, Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier, 101/63, ECLI:EU:C:1964:28; judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 July 1986, Wybot v Faure and others, 149/85, ECLI:EU:C:1986:310; judgment of the General Court of 15 October 2008, Mote v Parliament, T-345/05, ECLI:EU:T:2008:440; judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 October 2008, Marra v De Gregorio and Clemente, C-200/07 and C-201/07, ECLI:EU:C:2008:579; judgment of the General Court of 19 March 2010, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-42/06, ECLI:EU:T:2010:102; judgment of the Court of Justice of 6 September 2011, Patriciello, C-163/10, ECLI: EU:C:2011:543; judgment of the General Court of 17 January 2013, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-346/11 and T-347/11, ECLI:EU:T:2013:23.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

12.7.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

8

0

3

Members present for the final vote

Joëlle Bergeron, Kostas Chrysogonos, Mady Delvaux, Mary Honeyball, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Gilles Lebreton, António Marinho e Pinto, Pavel Svoboda, Axel Voss

Substitutes present for the final vote

Angel Dzhambazki, Heidi Hautala

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