Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-03-Speech-1-029"

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"Mr President, in an interview with Mr Martin on prime time television in Ireland on Wednesday last week, I challenged him on two issues. I quote from the transcript of the programme: 'I want to put two questions to Mr Martin, if you don't mind. Is it not true, Mr Martin, that a Cologne court earlier this week ordered you to refrain from attacking the integrity of your fellow German MEPs on this issue or it will fine you EUR 250 000 or indeed imprison you for six months? The second question I want to ask you, bearing in mind that you claim to be interested in reforming the expenses system, concerns the vote in the European Parliament last week. In fact I think there were just under 20 votes where proposals were being made to reform the expenses system and you were absent from every one of them. It seems to me that this is not the action of someone who is interested in reforming the system, it is the action of a hypocrite. You are proving what Pat Cox said about you, that you are doing this purely for personal publicity and not for genuine reasons.' This is the man who is attacking our integrity and who is masquerading as a crusader. This is his answer – and people should listen to it – about Mrs Gebhardt. 'I have never ever made these claims. I am an Austrian. I have never heard of these lawsuits or claims. I am very much surprised that they have suddenly come up with this.' The states: 'The court in Cologne advised Mr Martin not to further damage the reputation of Evelyne Gebhardt, threatening to sentence him to a fine of EUR 250 000 if he repeated his allegations. He further went on to say: 'As far as the participation in the vote, I was there.' The interviewer then asked me: 'Is there not a need for some reform? Do you accept that some reform is necessary?' I replied: 'Absolutely necessary. We voted for it some time ago, but who stopped it? Not the Parliament, it was the presidency, particularly the German and British Governments.' Mr Martin interjected: 'But for additional privileges.' I said: 'I also repeat: we voted it for last week again, but the alleged great crusader Mr Martin was absent for almost 20 votes.' He said again: 'No, I was taking part in the votes – don't repeat this claim.' I replied: 'You did not take part in the votes, the records show that.' He then replied: 'I did, just look at the Minutes.' He is a deceitful masquerader, damaging our reputation. Someone like him has no part in public life."@en1

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