Op dinsdag 27 juni kwam ik tussen in de Raad van Europa om een duidelijk signaal te geven tegen corruptie, belangenconflicten en de graaicultuur die ook in België heerst. Alleen propere politiek houdt onze democratie gezond.

Bekijk mijn statement op mijn YouTube-kanaal:

Of lees hier mijn tussenkomst:

Dear Chair,
Ladies and gentlemen,

“Investigative journalism is a key weapon in tackling corruption,” that’s what Mrs Bilgehan states in her report.
And she’s right: without honest and courageous people, corruption will never be tackled.
We need honest and courageous members of parliament, investigative journalists and whistleblowers to keep our democracies healthy.

In a healthy democracy, people rightly expect that members of parliament take responsability and control the status of democracy.
In a representative democracy, it is our duty as parliamentarians to do so.
The parliament is probably the most important controlling body in that respect.
But, very often investigative journalists and whistleblowers are the people who point out our responsabilites as members of parliament. They point out what we have to assume.

I believe whistleblowers and investigative journalists can make a difference, especially when official monitoring and control mechanisms fail.
Paradoxically however, whistleblowers are often the ones who are persecuted, whereas the real frauds and criminals go freely.

Mr Nicoletti’s report touches upon corruption in general, in institutions and parliaments in Europe.
We, parliamentarians who are defenders of human rights and the interests of the European people, should adhere to the highest standards of integrity and have to give the example.
It is clear that the fight against corruption, outside and inside this house should be our highest priority.
The rules committee and this assembly is well advancing on this, as we witnessed this morning.

The fight against corruption also should deal with conflicts of interests, transparency in lobbying activities, declaration of mandates and the rule of not accumulating political mandates.
In these domains a lot of work remains to be done in most of our member states.

Integrity and ethics in politics and governance is key to the values we defend in this institution.
That is why I fully support both excellent reports.
We need to fight corruption and protect whistleblowers and investigative journalists across Europe, and they should be exempted from criminal liability.

Some countries have legislated protection of whistleblowers in anti-corruption laws, others in public service laws, and again others in labour, criminal and sector-specific laws, thus leaving significant legal loopholes and gaps.

Despite the continuous efforts of the European Parliament, the European Commission is still delaying much needed protections for whistleblowers.
By voting these resolutions and recommendations, we show the EU that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe believes it is time for public transparency.

Ladies and gentlemen,

If we want to keep our States’ democratic and economic systems healthy, our parliaments should co-operate with investigative journalists and whistleblowers.
This can give us more democratic legitimacy.

It is their responsability to point out where the system fails. But, do not forget that it is our responsability to fix the system.

I will finish with a quote by Alan Simpson who said “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters”.

Dear colleagues, let us make sure that it is the first which applies to all of us. Thank you.