Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Should Nick Clegg declare a conflict of interest?

Nick Clegg worked as an M.E.P. for just under five years before entering British national politics. As a result of that position, he 'earned' a pension worth up to £6,000 a year which is more than the basic UK pension that it can take a lifetime of work to earn. More troubling it seems that EU pensions are paid only if the recipient does nothing to harm the interests of the European Union. According to Article 213 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (my emphasis):
'The Members of the Commission shall, in the general interest of the Community, be completely independent in the performance of their duties.

In the performance of these duties, they shall neither seek nor take instructions from any government or from any other body. They shall refrain from any action incompatible with their duties. Each Member State undertakes to respect this principle and not to seek to influence the Members of the Commission in the performance of their tasks.

The Members of the Commission may not, during their term of office, engage in any other occupation, whether gainful or not. When entering upon their duties they shall give a solemn undertaking that, both during and after their term of office, they will respect the obligations arising therefrom and in particular their duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits. In the event of any breach of these obligations, the Court of Justice may, on application by the Council or the Commission, rule that the Member concerned be, according to the circumstances, either compulsorily retired in accordance with Article 216 or deprived of his right to a pension or other benefits in its stead.'
Do the same provisions apply to MEP's pensions? If so shouldn't Nick Clegg declare his conflict of interest between the interests of the United Kingdom and the European Union?

No comments: