Addressing the Plenary in Strasbourg, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola spoke about the agreement with group leaders on a first step approach towards increasing integrity, independence and accountability in the European Parliament.
© European Union | The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola addressing the Plenary Session in Strasbourg
The European Parliament prides itself on its openness, its accessibility and its defence of legislating in the public eye. We are not in some imaginary ivory tower. The principle of ‘openness builds trust’ is one we hold dear and defend. And any abuse or misuse of the tools that we created for this purpose must be addressed strongly, systematically and with any potential weaknesses addressed.
The events of the past month have led to a need to re-build trust with the European citizens we represent. We must acknowledge this. And citizens, rightly, demand accountability and integrity. We will respond.
I promised you last month, that we will come back with a series of reforms.
With group leaders, we have agreed on a first step approach on a number of points that can go a long way. This is the beginning, not the end. We will start with measures that we can implement quickly while starting the process for longer-term reform. And consultations will continue across the board.
As a starting point, we will look at how we can implement a revolving door policy, at how we can ensure more transparency. Of how we can improve accountability and checks of interest representatives, of how we can better control who has access to our premises. We will ask for more transparency also when it comes to those representing the interests of third countries and from former members.
We will shine a brighter light on what we do as Members with more and clearer information being made available to the public. We will enforce rules that disallow any activities that could create confusion with official European Parliament Activities - particularly when it comes to interaction with third countries.
We will do more to ensure that the public has clear information on our financial declarations and we will ensure more training on whistleblowing and compliance. We will boost measures to boost the fight against corruption and on how we can push back against foreign interference.
We will strengthen our systems, address any shortcomings and be honest and open throughout this process.
And we will do all of this while protecting the freedom of our mandate as elected representatives. We will not hinder that - we will do the opposite and do so while highlighting the important, crucial, role played by MEPs in European decision-making and our role in making the lives of Europeans a little bit safer, a little bit fairer, a little bit more equal.
Our House is the embodiment of European parliamentary democracy and I need your help to ensure that the pillars holding it up are strengthened. We owe this to our citizens, to all those who came before and to all those who will come after.