Sunday

18th Aug 2019

Ban on former communists in EU institutions considered

The European People's Party (EPP) is wrestling with the thorny issue of whether it should ban former communists from taking up posts in the European institutions.

The issue could have strong implications for Estonia which has nominated ex-communist Siim Kallas as its Commissioner from 1 May when enlargement takes place.

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The European Parliament has the right to approve all of the candidates after they have been chosen by EU governments.

Mr Kallas, a former prime minister in Estonia, was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1972 to 1990.

Resolution

A resolution currently being considered by the EPP calls on the political parties of the European Parliament not to accept anyone in their ranks who previously served under oppressive or totalitarian communist regimes.

President of the EPP, Wilfried Martens said on Wednesday (4 February) that "the matter is still under discussion" - there was a lengthy debate on the issue yesterday.

Mr Martens went on to add that the EPP "has always opposed extremes on the left or the right" and this was a "very delicate matter".

The leader of the EPP-ED group in the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, said the whole issue "was raised by the observers [national MPs from the new member states who have had a special status in the European Parliament since last year]".

He said that the EPP has to be committed to "sweeping away" such elements.

If the text of the resolution is passed through the EPP's Congress being held today and tomorrow, then it could be passed on to all members of the European Parliament.

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