"The final balance of the work of the Transparency Committee is a very positive one," says Pedro Delgado Alves, coordinator of the PS Parliamentary Group within the framework of the Eventual Commission for the Enhancement of Transparency in the Exercise of Public Functions, which has been in operation since April 2016. to close their work. "It had a broad program of reforms, and manages to close the biggest integral revision of the subject since the 90's, with simplification and consolidation of the dispersed legislation, in line with the latest European developments and good practices in other countries."
"Among other matters it would highlight the following: the first legal regime on lobbying; a unique statement of assets, income and interests is introduced and the Entity for Transparency will receive them; a solution is finally guaranteed for the intentional concealment of income by the incumbents (without unconstitutionality, with penal sanction and with 80% taxation of the hidden values); a system of incompatibility in public procurement is deepened; provision is made for offers and hospitality; numerous incompatibilities are widened in the Statute for Members to the exercise of functions in concessionaires, PPP, financial and insurance sector; it is forbidden intervention of deputies as lawyers on representation or to litigate against the State and other public entities; and strengthen the powers of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee, "says Delgado Alves.
"In the case of the PS, the final result allowed to translate everything that had been foreseen in our Electoral Program in this place (lobbying, introduction of codes of conduct, regulation of offers and hospitality and prohibition of deputies to represent or litigate against public entities), going further in practically all areas ", praises the deputy of the PS.
"On some issues, however, we would have preferred to go further, but we have a notion that in a plural parliamentary democracy some compromise is necessary. In view of the PCP's announcement that it will vote against all of the measures, in view of PCP and CDS-PP's refusal to create the Transparency Entity, and in opposition to BE and PCP and PSD reservations in regulating the lobbying, it was necessary to construct a path that would guarantee the final approval of all the diplomas. This was achieved without compromising the guiding principles ", he concludes.
"Take away more people from politics"
In turn, Álvaro Batista, a member of the PSD, says that "the work is not over yet". However, "considering that the main objective of the commission was to increase transparency in the exercise of public functions, important steps have been taken. It will significantly increase the number of office holders to have to file a declaration of interests and assets, it is expected to create a new supervisory body and increase the range of sanctions. "
"As for the use of the process to create a set of new impediments and incompatibilities, the balance is less positive, because this will only serve to alienate more people from politics, functionalize the assembly and the exercise of public functions," says Batista.
"Transparency is on the way"
In the perspective of Vânia Dias da Silva, coordinator of the CDS-PP Parliamentary Group, "the objectives of the Transparency Commission were not, nor are they, unequivocal. Each party presented proposals containing the respective views. The one of the CDS-PP was to increase transparency in the exercise of political and public positions and, through this, the public scrutiny, the inspection and the sanctioning of non-compliance. "
"In this sense, no, the commission did not fulfill the design of the CDS-PP", he emphasizes. "In addition to the regulation of lobbying, presented by CDS-PP, transparency was on the way, with the lead of the bid register as designed by the CDS-PP and the extension of the declaratory obligations to all members of government offices, for example. "
"That is to say, what was really addressed was to deepen the growing tendency of the professionalization of the function of deputy, incompatible with almost all professions. It is a paradox that professional politicians are rejected and that, afterwards, laws are made to make them the same: professionals in politics, "Dias da Silva points out.
"Demagogic set of measures"
"The balance we make is deeply negative," laments António Filipe, MP of the PCP. "There will be no enhancement of transparency. To confirm what is indicted, we will have a set of demagogic measures and mere ceding to populism. "
And it exemplifies: "Like the creation of a new entity to supervise declarations of income, assets and interests when this function should compete with the Public Ministry, such as the obligation of public entities to approve paternalistic 'codes of conduct' with requirements that no law imposes, or as the creation of a parliamentary committee of more than doubtful constitutionality, with powers to apply sanctions to deputies and depriving them of the exercise of some of their rights.