France wants to see the development and international solidarity law in force in the country extended to the entire European Union. French law stipulates that funds seized in corruption cases by international leaders must be returned to the population. The topic should gain prominence during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which begins in January 2022.
“We have to do it at the European level. We have symbolic cases in France, because we were the first to follow this kind of violation, and there is courage in that. We want to tell the European Union that it must do the same,” said Hervé Perville, member of the National Assembly. And a member of the Republic Party, in statements to Lusa Agency.
Herve Perville was the rapporteur for this law in the National Assembly and led negotiations with the Senate in the joint committee that passed the law in July. One of the main points of this law is the transfer of funds confiscated in France to world leaders obtained through corruption or money laundering. The MP will now fight for the adoption of this law at the European level, and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which France will take over from January 2022, will allow this desire to be echoed.
“Within the European Presidency, that’s something we want to move forward with. I’ve already spoken with Clement Bonn, Secretary of State for European Affairs, and with the President’s diplomatic advisors. Next year, but let’s do that,” he pleaded.
Until now in France, the goods or money seized in corruption cases by foreign leaders went directly to the general budget of the country, but from this law, the money will be directed to a specific budget line that will finance projects jointly with civic associations of the state. The countries of origin of those who committed these crimes, thus returning the money to the population.
“We will engage civil society and see if there is a real impact from our programmes. We have to move from the logic of the budget to the logic of impact. Instead of giving 50 million euros to the Ministry of Education in Equatorial Guinea, for example, as we were not sure that this money would be used for this Our reasoning is now qualitative and we say we want to measure something very specific,” explained the deputy.
This law arrived in time to include the assets seized in France from Equatorial Guinea’s Vice President, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mange, better known as “Teodorin” Obiang, whose last appeal was dismissed in July at the Court of Cassation in Paris. The value of 150 million euros was finally seized, including a palace and luxury cars. This enabled the “interplanetary alignment” to proceed with approval of the law, as Transparency International had requested for many years, but it also prompted France to send a political message against corruption.
“The idea of the Law on Development and International Solidarity is to take development out of technical issues and transform it into a political law, explaining France’s priorities in relation to the world, to its partners, to reduce poverty and alleviate poverty. Hence, reducing inequalities is a political and ethical issue and fights poverty”, As pointed out by Hervé Perville.
In addition to the final destination of poorly acquired goods, this law raises to 0.55% of GNP French development aid, identifies the most vulnerable countries to receive assistance from France and priority sectors for assistance to third countries such as climate or gender equality.
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