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New tougher transparency law in Germany

In Germany, a new law on transparency for parliamentarians has been passed. Many are unhappy with the decision, and conservatives and liberals have long been barred from introducing new regulations on disclosing the sources of their representatives’ money.

However, Abgeordnetenwatch and other NGOs have constantly fought for the adoption of strict legislation – and now it has worked.

“In terms of transparency rules for parliamentarians, Germany has so far topped the list in comparison with Europe. For example, Germany has been often criticized by the Anti-Corruption Authority of the Council of Europe, and we have not performed well compared to other European countries.” Clara Helming, Communications Officer at Abgeordnetenwatch said.

Given the scandals that occurred earlier this year, when several MPs took advantage of the business opportunities inherent in the pandemic and many took their seats, they could do little against the now tightening of the law.

“In other European countries where stricter transparency rules have been introduced, this has also often been a reaction to major scandals. This has been the case in the UK or France, for example. But what France has done better is that they have had Also a big scandal, and in 2013, they also tightened the rules: that an inspection form was submitted on the spot,” Clara Helming continued.

In the case of the Germans, the problem is that MEPs control themselves through the Speaker, who is also a member. Plus he decides on behalf of the party friends too. And he, as the Speaker of Parliament, is not under anyone’s control.

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“So far there have been rules, but they are not strong enough and they are simply not enforced. Most of the procedures within the Bundestag were carried out internally, and the public was not aware of them. We fear the same could happen with new, stricter rules,” Helming said.

During the term of office of the current President of the Bundestag, abuse has been punished only once so far.