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Monday, 18 February 2008 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Transparency in financial matters (debate)
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  Alexander Stubb (PPE-DE). – Mr President, let me begin by congratulating the rapporteur, Mr Pomés Ruiz. I am not doing it only because he is standing next to me and kicking me in the ankle, but because I think his report is very good indeed.

I would like to make three points, if you would allow me. Firstly, I think that the aim of this report is basically to improve transparency and improve controls. Usually you do that three ways. One is to have transparency in terms of documentation: that is quite well provided for under Article 255 of the EC Treaty; secondly, transparency of finances, which is what we are doing in this report; and thirdly, of course, transparency of meetings.

The sad thing I find in this debate – not so much inside but outside this Chamber – is that there are a lot of anti-Europeans that are using transparency in a very populist way, in the sense that, on one hand, they call for transparency, then when transparency is given, they start attacking people for it. I find this debate, in that sense, a little bit sad, and I think that, when we go transparent, we should be honest and straightforward about it.

Point number two is on national declarations. I would like to second what Ms De Lange said about those. We should always stress that. I think Mr Kallas is doing a very good job. The Commission is doing a good job. But 80% of all the funds are actually spent by the Member States. That is where we need a little bit more in the financial declarations. I am sure, Mr Mulder, if he was here, would agree with me.

The final point I have is on the famous, or perhaps infamous, paragraph 22 of this report. I see where it is coming from, but I think we should not throw the baby out with the bath-water. Therefore, I would recommend that we get rid of paragraph 22, so that all of us can easily vote for this report, because, after all, being against transparency is a little bit like being against peace and motherhood.

 
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