Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-07-21-Speech-3-126"

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"Mr President, it is right that this Parliament and indeed the Council and the Commission treat this matter with the utmost seriousness. It really is most reprehensible that there has been not only an apparent flouting of the formal rules for Commissioners, but also a contravention of the spirit of transparency and trust that should be the basis of the work between this Parliament and Commissioners. However, one matter still is outstanding. There seems to be no mechanism within the existing rules and obligations where a company like itself can be subject to some sort of punitive measures. If we could find some way not only of having a measure to take against former Commissioners who act in this way, but also against the companies who benefit from their knowledge, then I think that we might have two very powerful levers to use in future transgressions. We hope, of course, that these will not occur. We wish the new Commission every success and hope that the high standards they espouse will be put into practice. I have been the rapporteur on a substantial number of Directives concerning the liberalisation of the telecommunications industry and I, and my colleagues, have acted in good faith in this work and had assumed that the former Commissioner Bangemann had done the same. One can only speculate at just how much of a commitment Mr Bangemann had to the level playing field in this aspect of the internal market when he is willing to sell his knowledge to a major player in the European Union and further afield. It is particularly difficult, Colleagues, when Mr Bangemann was a former Member of this Parliament and indeed, a leader of the Liberal Group. One matter which has not been mentioned in the debate is that there is to be a major review of all of the telecommunications legislation later this year and part of this work has already been started by the Commission under Mr Bangemann's commissionership. As I have previously stated, I have been the rapporteur on a number of matters, but if I can just give you a thumbnail sketch of just how extensive this review will be and what it will cover – universal service, frequencies, satellite, regulation, licences, interconnections, numbering, mobile telephones, convergence of broadcasting, data transmission and telecommunications – an explosion of legislation and an enormous segment of the European Union's manufacturing, industrial and commercial base in its own right, but also as an adjunct to so many other industries. On all of this, Mr Bangemann takes with him his knowledge and his contacts to . There are also a worryingly substantial number of cases before the European Court of Justice on breaches of legislation, particularly in the field of interconnections – again, matters on which the former Commissioner has intimate knowledge. The Commissioner, when he was here in this Chamber, and I have had many debates with him, was fond of quoting from Shakespeare and other English poets. I shall quote one in his absence on his behalf – 'Just for a handful of silver he left us, just for a ribbon to stick on his coat'. I know that the money he has been offered by hardly can be justified by the description of a handful of silver and indeed it begs the question of just how seriously Members of this House will treat a company like when it comes to lobby us as they surely will on the matter of the review and future legislation in this field. If I can be slightly mischievous, one wonders just how much value for money will get out of Martin Bangemann. I wish he were on a performance-related pay and he might find that the fat cheque might not look nearly so attractive. I understand Commissioner Kinnock's hesitation and his hesitations because this matter is . Fortunately, Members of this Parliament are protected by parliamentary privilege, but even then, Commissioner Kinnock, I would ask you to note the reasonably restrained language that there is in our resolution and if I may just quote to you briefly on what the resolution says – “it deems his conduct to be particularly open to criticism’. We did choose the language very carefully and many might say that ‘open to criticism’ might be a serious understatement. I finish, where I started, by saying that we are right to treat this with the utmost seriousness. I support absolutely the Council's decision to refer this matter to the Court and to use all the powers that there are under the agreements."@en1
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