On 25 June 2014 I received from the office of Martin Schulz, currently the S&D Group’s leader in the European Parliament, the confirmation that he, as EP President in the former legislature, did not announce in the Plenary the request by the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for lifting the immunity of former MEP Silaghi, suspected of influence peddling.
Martin Schulz recognized that he never announced in the EP Plenary the request by the DNA to lift the immunity of the former Romanian MEP Ovidiu Silaghi because „requests to lift MEPs’ immunity are not always announced in the plenary immediately if there is a doubt about admissibility”. In fact, without announcing in the Plenary the receipt of the DNA’s request, no procedures could be initiated, and they were not.
Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure of the EP are crystal clear: “Any request addressed to the President by a competent authority of a Member State that the immunity of a Member be waived […] shall be announced in Parliament and referred to the committee responsible”.
These Rules do not provide for any other method of dealing with the requests asking for lifting the immunity of a MEP, and this is why Schulz’s failure to announce in the EP Plenary the DNA’s request on ‘grounds’ that he wanted first to be sure that the request is “admissible” is de facto a breach of the EP Rules of Procedure leading to the impossibility of a report by the JURI committee and a vote on this report by the EP Plenary. And so it happened in this case: no report from JURI and no vote in the EP Plenary.
JURI Committee’s Secretariat already confirmed that it did not receive any request from Schulz before the last April meeting of JURI in the current legislature. Schulz publicly declared that it was a “mess” and that the letter by which he asked for an opinion on “admissibility” did not get in time to the JURI, though it has been sent in February 2014. However, JURI specified that it “could not have taken steps to waive the immunity as the case had not been announced in plenary as required by the Rules of Procedure”. Therefore even if the letter had not been “lost”, JURI would not have been able to analyse it because Schulz breached the EP Rules by not announcing in the EP Plenary the receipt of DNA’s request and therefore there was nothing that JURI could do. These were confirmed once again today, June 27, by e-mail, by JURI.
Since I have brought this case to public scrutiny, Martin Schulz is getting entangled in his own explanations, and he is now invoking a “lost letter” that would not, however, have led anyway to a vote on the request for lifting Ovidiu Silaghi’s immunity in accordance with the EP Rules.
Schulz runs for the presidency of the EP for the next two and a half years. And he will probably become the EP President, but this will cost us credibility. One can notice that Schulz was not discouraged to run by his failure to act in this case, even after he lost the competition for the presidency of the European Commissions. How could this be explained to the voters?