Friday, November 19, 2004

Criminals Yea — Catholics Nay

Rocco Buttiglione wasn't suitable for a post on the EU Commission, but apparently being a criminal or former Communist government apparatchik is all right.

Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party apparently let the cat out of the bag (RealAudio) when he stood up in Strasbourg yesterday and named Mr. Jacques Barrot as having been convicted in France in 2000 on embezzlement charges.
After receiving the conviction, however, Barrot, a close ally of France's President Jacques Chirac, benefited from a presidential amnesty which also made it illegal to make any public mention of the conviction under French law. The statement was part of a wide-ranging attack by Farage against several members of the new Commission, which he concluded by saying that “nobody would buy a used car from this Commission”. Political group leaders reacted vehemently to the attack by saying the European Parliament should not be used as a place for defamation and warned he could face criminal sanctions for slander.
So, technically Mr. Barrot is clean. In fact, because Mr. Farage made his statements in Strasbourg he may now be the subject of legal proceedings because it's illegal in France to discuss this publicly.

Before yesterday, none of the French MEP's knew about Mr. Barrot's convictions.

Transparency, how are you?