European Parliament members who questioned commissioner-designate Ingrida Udre last week have ruled that the Latvian lacks integrity and that Commission President-designate Jose Manuel Barroso should investigate allegations of "financial irregularities" of funding of the Greens and Farmers Party.
"From Mrs. Ingrida Udre's answers to a series of questions members were unable to reach definite conclusions about allegations of financial irregularities in the funding of her political party," the MEPs wrote to Europarliament President Josep Borrell Fontelles.
The letter was signed by Philip Whitehead, chairman of the internal market and consumer protection committee, and Pervenche Beres, chairwoman of the economic and monetary affairs committee, both of whom led Udre's three-hour hearing on Oct. 7.
"Members recommend that you ask President-Designate Barroso to investigate fully and to report to the European Parliament on the basis of the information duly provided to the European Institutions, on the integrity of Mrs. Ingrida Udre, including obtaining an undertaking from her that, if any of the alleged illegal acts were subsequently proven against her, she will immediately resign her position."
By including the resignation requirement, MEPs, who wrote to Fontelles that they were generally satisfied with Udre's knowledge of EU tax and customs spheres, apparently want to avoid a situation when proven allegations of corruption against Udre would compromise the entire commission.
In 1999, the entire European Commission had to resign after one commissioner, who had become enmeshed in scandal, refused to resign.
MEPs from the largest political groups had immediately expressed serious doubts about Udre's integrity and openness after last week's hearing, claiming her answers to questions regarding campaign finance of the Greens and Farmers' Union and her Euroskeptic positions during Latvia's 2002 parliamentary campaign were evasive and incomplete.