Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-04-06-Speech-4-030"

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". Mr President, many congratulations to Mr van den Berg for his excellent report. The scourge of corruption is neither new nor rare. It has accompanied human activity since ancient times and is widespread amongst both the developing and the developed countries – the only difference being that in the developed countries, it is practised more professionally and more elegantly and is thus more difficult to recognise. So, with corruption being so common and extensive, how effective have attempts made at international level to curb it actually been? Not very, I am afraid. The estimated amount of USD 1 trillion paid in bribes today is not less than the corresponding amount in previous years; in fact, it is more. The reason is simple: corruption cannot be controlled by signing conventions and declarations alone, but only by the strict implementation of such conventions and declarations by concerned. To that effect, we in the developed world must set a good example. While passing judgment on corruption in the developing world, let us look at ourselves. Also, let us consider critically our own state of affairs and let us analyse ourselves by asking some simple questions. How free from corruption is a system that allows United States Government officials at the highest level – names like Cheney and Rumsfeld come to mind – allegedly to be involved and have a personal interest in companies awarded multi-million contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan? How corruption-free is it to have the wife of the Prime Minister of Britain, Mrs Blair, working for a large law firm and taking up highly politically sensitive cases, which directly involve and are affected by political decisions taken by her husband? Should not the Roman proverb that Caesar’s wife must not only be honest but must also be seen to be honest apply here? How free from corruption is a system that allows United Nations officials and other related persons, including the son of the United Nations Secretary-General, to be accused of involvement in oil-for-aid scandals? Closer to home, how corruption-free can the system be seen to be when Members, or their close relatives, of the European Parliament and other EU institutions, involved in making legislation, are at the same time members of boards of companies, or are stakeholders in companies which stand to make huge profits from such legislation? Is a simple declaration of interest really good enough? Lastly, may I draw your attention to two amendments by Mr Kristovskis, concerning recital N and paragraph 22. These amendments correct a mistake that was made in the original report in recital N, in which Cyprus was omitted from the list of EU Member States that have not yet ratified the 1997 OECD Convention. In fact, Cyprus has repeatedly attempted to participate in the OECD, but Turkey, for political reasons unrelated to the subject, blocked such participation. By voting positively for these two amendments, we will make it possible for Malta, Lithuania, Latvia and Cyprus to ratify the OECD Convention."@en1

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