EU Double Standards on Fraud: Schulz v Le Pen

marine-le-pen-martin-schulz-770511Leading candidate in the French presidential elections, Member of the European Parliament Marine Le Pen has attacked the EU Parliament’s former president Martin Schulz, himself the leading candidate to be German Chancellor, for double standards on fraud investigations.

While he was President of the European Parliament for five years, until January this year, Mr Schulz ordered the finance and personnel departments of the EP administration (both headed by his own cronies, former socialist party advisers in his Cabinet) to carry out rigorous investigations of Ms Le Pen’s parliamentary expenses.

In particular, Schulz accused Le Pen of creating fictitious jobs on the EP payroll for aides who were in reality engaged in party political work in her home country. Now it turns out that, according to revelations in the German magazine Der Spiegel on 11 February, Mr Schulz himself is accused of exactly the same practices, most notably for his current election campaign manager, Markus Engels, a highly-paid EP official.

There is good reason to believe the statements by Ms Le Pen that the investigations against her amount to political persecution by Martin Schulz, and she is currently bringing a case before the French courts to prove this. While the EU’s “independent” anti-fraud body OLAF immediately opened an investigation into Ms Le Pen, OLAF Director Giovanni Kessler has been silent on the fraud accusations against Mr Schulz.

Mr Schulz himself is accused of failing to respect due process in the case, and to equally defend the immunity of all the Members of the European Parliament, as he was mandated to do under the EP Rules of Procedure. Rather than refer the accusations against Ms Le Pen to Parliament’s Advisory Committee on the Code of Conduct for Members for preliminary evaluation, he bypassed them completely and instructed the suborned EP services to immediately hand over all documents to OLAF, thereby denying Ms Le Pen her right to be heard by this Committee.

Double standards being applied by the EU authorities when it comes to investigating fraud of EU taxpayers’ money is not the way to regain the confidence of EU citizens, at an all-time low. This is precisely the kind of cynical behaviour by the EU elites that pushes citizens to vote for so-called “populist” parties and politicians. Or, as Mr Schulz and his cronies would prefer to dismiss them, “anti-European forces”.