The Greens in the European Parliament are seeking a thorough investigation of former EP President Martin Schulz, following the accusations of massive fraud of EU funds which emerged in German media last weekend. Current Parliament Vice President, Ulrike Lunacek, Green Party member from Austria, has called upon the Parliament authorities to launch an official investigation into the affair.
Although traditional allies on the left of Schulz’ Socialist and Democrats Group, the Greens also seek to portray themselves as a party which combats elites and opposed to corruption and cronyism. The shocking revelations about abuses of the EU financial and staff regulations carried out during Martin Schulz’ five years as EP boss, have led them distance themselves from him in an effort to save the reputation of the European Parliament. The move by the Greens piles on the pressure on the EU authorities to act, coming as it does days after Parliament’s own anti-fraud chief, Ingeborg Graessle, made a similar call for an investigation.
So far, the EU’s supposedly independent anti-fraud authority, known by its French acronym OLAF, has made no comment on the revelations. OLAF Director General Giovanni Kessler is known to be personally close to Martin Schulz. The pair have collaborated on a joint investigation into alleged misuse of EP funds by French MEP Marine Le Pen, an action she claims is “political persecution”. It remains to be seen whether OLAF will continue to remain silent in the face of mounting calls for Schulz’ own alleged abuse of the same funds to be investigated with the same vigour.