I’m not the biggest fan of German liberal MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin. She was involved with a spat with bloggers prior to the 2009 European elections and was not open and transparent at that time, and she’s the sort of ultra-professional, arrogant FDP politician I cannot abide.
So I smiled when she became embroiled in a plagiarism row about her PhD thesis, similar to Guttenberg, culminating in her resignation yesterday from all positions within the FDP.
Only there’s a problem.
You can read her resignation statement here (DE), and this is the crucial part:
Mit sofortiger Wirkung trete ich auch von dem Amt der Vizepräsidentin des Europäischen Parlaments zurück, um nicht in führender Position ein Ziel für Angriffe auf die einzige demokratisch legitimierte Institution der Europäischen Union zu bieten.
Roughly translated into English:
Effective immediately, I resign from the position of the Vice President of the European Parliament in order not to make my leading position a target for attacks on the only democratically legitimate institution of the European Union.
So Silvana says she wants to protect the European Parliament, but she is still a member of the Parliament – that role she has not resigned.
Much more important to the functioning of European democracy is that MEPs represent the people, and that they are honest. As can be seen from the picture above, and from dozens of pictures on Flickr, Silvana used her Dr. title everywhere across the election campaign. Resigning from positions within the FDP seems to indicate she knows she was wrong, yet she has not resigned the most important role of all and, importantly, the role that pays her at least €6000 a month. Admittedly Heidelberg University has not yet judged on the case and will do so by the start of June, and she could possibly be found not guilty. If found guilty then she absolutely must resign as a MEP, for she would have been elected having provided false information to the electorate. If she doesn’t go it will be clear she thinks Silvana first, FDP second and European citizens last.
May 18, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution
Most media don’t seem to have noticed that she wants to keep her mandate. They jumped on the fact that she dropped a few offices. Smart bit of communication there. Feeding the dogs a few bones and hoping they won’t notice the haunch..