Fortunately, there is no shortage of older, solid gentlemen with an unsuspicious financial background in the European Parliament. In principle, there is a large selection when it is necessary to replace a young, glamorous woman who stupidly had to be removed from office because the police found suitcases full of cash at her home, the origin of which can probably only be explained by corruption.
The Social Democrats group in the EU Parliament therefore did not have to look very far to find a successor to Eva Kaili, the 44-year-old Parliament Vice-President who was arrested in December on alleged bribery charges and has been in prison ever since. A successor who, if possible, is the opposite of the ousted Greek in every respect. The choice fell on Marc Angel, 59 years old, a trained interpreter, studied tourism economics, a seasoned social democrat and above all: a citizen of Luxembourg. This is a country whose tax legislation, although sometimes criticized abroad, is one of the cleanest in the world when it comes to bribery and corruptibility, according to Transparency International’s corruption index.
The Liberals and the Conservatives will probably vote for Angel
Luxembourg scores 81 out of a possible 100 points on the global incorruptibility scale, which compares 180 countries, and ranks 9th. Greece only has 49 points – 58th place. The candidate’s country of origin, coupled with the desire of most social democrats in the European Parliament Not daring to try any more experiments after the fall of their hopeful Kaili could also have been a reason why Angel was able to prevail against party colleague Victor Negrescu in his candidacy for a vice presidential office in the parliamentary group. This comes from Romania – a country that Transparency International gives only 45 points, which corresponds to place 66. Only Hungary and Bulgaria come off worse in the EU.
If everything goes smoothly, Marc Angel should be elected the new Vice President of the European Parliament this Wednesday. The European Social Democrats (S&D), who make up the second largest group in Parliament, nominated him. You will therefore probably vote for him, with the exception of a few dissenters. The third largest Liberal faction (Renew) has already pledged its support for Angel.
The largest group, the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), is also likely to support the Luxembourger, perhaps not in the first, but certainly in the second ballot. Because the deputy post that Kaili has vacated and that Angel is supposed to take over belongs to the Social Democrats according to internal agreements in parliament. The EPP apparently does not want to shake this agreement.
However, the chairman of the EPP group, CSU politician Manfred Weber, accused the Social Democrats of not working as hard on the corruption scandal as it should. Because so far only S&D MPs are involved in the processes. They are suspected of accepting bribes from Qatar and Morocco. “The Social Democrats obviously bear the greatest responsibility” for the clarification, Weber said on Tuesday. However, suspected MPs are still officially members of the S&D group. He would have wished for at least a “temporary distancing”. “There is a certain disappointment with the behavior of the Social Democrats,” said Weber. But that probably won’t change anything about the voting behavior of the Conservatives.
Are the Greens underrepresented?
Only the European Greens are opposed to the planned change of staff from Kaili to Angel. You have proposed the 45-year-old Frenchwoman Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield as your own candidate for the vacant deputy post. On the one hand, this has to do with the feeling of the Greens that, as the fourth-largest group, they are underrepresented in the parliamentary leadership and, because of their political strength, deserve not just one but two of the 14 vice-presidential posts.
On the other hand, the Greens also think that the Social Democrats want to get back to business as usual all too quickly after the corruption scandal broke out. It’s bizarre, a Green complains, that at the beginning of this week’s session in Strasbourg, Parliament is having to deal with lifting the immunity of two S&D MEPs involved – and then, as if nothing had happened, another Social Democrat in the deputy post on Wednesday should vote, who only became vacant because of this scandal.