The former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, currently SPD candidate for German Chancellor, has been accused in Parliament’s Budget Control Committee of seeking to abuse his power to promote some of his cronies in breach of EU staff regulations.
The latest revelations about Schulz’ highly dubious practices during his five-year EP Presidency have come to light in German media. They follow revelations by German magazine Der Spiegel last month of fraudulent payment claims for his election campaign manager Markus Engels who was granted very questionable EP contracts for the duration of Schulz’ mandate. The EU anti-fraud body OLAF has confirmed it is looking into these accusations.
The EP Budget Control Committee is responsible for ex-post financial control of all Parliament’s budget and is currently reviewing spending for 2015 which was during the Schulz era. In response to questions tabled by Members of the Committee, the Parliament’s financial administration admitted that Schulz tried to force them to breach EU staff regulations by retroactively granting promotions to members of his cabinet. Had the EP administration given in to this bullying, the Schulz cronies involved would have received substantial financial advantages, with monthly salary increases of up to €2,200 involved.
Schulz has been accused of “conflict of interests” by the Budget Control Committee in his efforts to interfere with administrative decisions that are intentionally devolved to the financial and personnel services of Parliament, under the respective EU Financial and Staff Regulations, precisely to avoid political pressure being exerted.
As the various EU financial watchdogs, from the EP Budget Control Committee to OLAF, start to open the files from the Schulz era, more and more of these irregularities are coming to light. They paint a picture of a megalomania who, the longer he stayed in power, the more he believed he could do what he wanted – appoint unqualified cronies to top EP management jobs, grant extra payments to his buddies, fly on private jets to party political events. If this man gets his hands on the levers of German power, there will be no limits to such abuses.