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  • German politics is generally  seen as honest and transparent

  • Germany is the world's 9th cleanest countryaccording to Transparency International.  

  • Here, pale blue shows countries Transparency  ranks as cleanand the darker the blue,  

  • the more corrupt on the ranking

  • But Germany's parliament has recently seen  a series of scandals - prompting outrage

  • Several MPs from Chancellor Angela Merkel's  conservative bloc have stepped down as a result.  

  • Allegations include MPs taking payments from  Azerbaijan's government in exchange for support.  

  • Others profited from deals to make or supply  facemasks in the pandemic. Now many say  

  • Germany needs tougher laws to control its MPs. “What happened in the last weeks in Germany is  

  • a huge threat for in general the trust of citizens  towards their politicians. It's something that  

  • will turn so many people away from politics. And  that's a huge problem. We cannot let it happen.  

  • And it's a big danger, I think, for democracy.” So, what can and can't Germany's politicians do

  • German MPs receive a pre-tax salary  of around 10,000 euros per month 

  • They are allowed to earn money on the sideas  long as their work as an MP is their main focus 

  • About a third of MPs say they  do have other sources of income

  • They must declare how much they earn on  top of their government salary - once  

  • the extra is more than 1,000 Euros  a month or 10,000 Euros a year

  • But they don't have to declare the exact  amountand there's no upper limit

  • MPs also have to make a declaration if  they own more than 25% of a company

  • But they don't have to reveal  what their companies do,  

  • which other firms they do business  with, or how much all of that is worth

  • Critics say that leaves too much  room for conflicts of interest

  • If there are rules in Germany, people generally  follow the rules. But if you don't have a rule,  

  • of course, people take the liberty not to  necessarily follow any moral guidelines,  

  • but to take it to their advantage. At the moment  there are, unfortunately, a lot of loopholes  

  • in the codes of conduct for members of  parliament. As long as there are loopholes,  

  • there will be people trying  to take advantage of it. ” 

  • The government has recognized it needs  to change things. The key parties have  

  • drafted suggestions to tighten the laws. Critics say the plans are still too  

  • weak. And the overall situation has  attracted international attention

  • Last year, the Council of Europe's Group of  States against Corruption (GRECO) called on  

  • the German government to set up stricter  rules around transparency. Its report  

  • said parliament needed stronger safeguards  against conflicts of interestand also  

  • highlighted another area of concernlobbying. Lobbyists work the corridors of powerusing  

  • various tactics to influence political  decisions. They can represent huge companies  

  • or whole industries, but also single-issue  campaigns and smaller interest groups

  • Lobbyism in itself is not something  bad in a representative democracy,  

  • interest groups should have direct contact with  politics. If we don't know as a public how and who  

  • influenced a law when a law is passed, in the end,  

  • we cannot check if all the interests were heard.” Germany has no official record of who is working  

  • to influence which decisionsor how  much time and money they spend doing it

  • Compared to many other Western nationssuch as the UK, such as France, Canada,  

  • Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria even - and  Austria is famously corrupt - Germany doesn't  

  • really have a lot of rules.” Germany's governing coalition  

  • recently agreed to set up a lobby register. It will force lobbyists to say who they work  

  • for - Making a false or incomplete statement  could cost up to 50,000 euros in fines

  • But the register would not require them to  say who they meet or how much they spend

  • Experts say the proposal is a step in the right  directionbut that it should go much further

  • So in the end what we would get with  the current lobby register would be  

  • names lists of who is lobbying. But we  lack actually the rest of the information.  

  • If you want transparency and you don't get it  completely covered, then you won't have half  

  • of transparency, you won't have any at all.” With Chancellor Merkel set to leave politics  

  • after September's election, Germany is entering  a period of upheaval. Democracy depends on voters  

  • trusting the systemand soon they'll show  politicians just how deep that trust runs.

German politics is generally  seen as honest and transparent

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A series of corruption scandals put German politicians under scrutiny | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/27
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