I’ve spent the day mostly in Brussels, in my capacity as a member of the ALDE Party’s Financial Advisory Committee, fulfilling a slightly different role to the one I’ve traditionally filled, that of institutional memory and provider of context.
The Committee is undergoing a process of transition at the moment, with the five original members (including myself) on our way out - two this year, three next - and six new members coming in. And that means that they have a bit of a learning curve, just as we did when we started.
Questions of why we do what we do, and how we do it aren’t entirely written down, as our role has evolved somewhat, and whilst the minutes record faithfully our decisions, it isn’t always obvious why. Given that our role, whilst low profile, has significance for both the Bureau and the Secretariat, who we advise and scrutinise to some extent, we also act to ensure that member parties are protected from reputational risk by association.
Admittedly, the Secretariat has been equally zealous in ensuring compliance with both the legal and organisational frameworks of the European Parliament, and has explored ways of raising funds without cutting ethical corners. They take this very seriously, which should be a reassurance to us all.
We make suggestions, examine proposed actions, probe expenditure patterns, and act, I suppose, as an audit and compliance board would. It is an important function, and an enjoyable one at the same time, as it allows me an opportunity to work with the management team and the staff, and to get a better grasp of what they are doing.
But the end is drawing near, as my final term ends next year, and I’ll pass the baton onto Birshen, Mats, Claus, Gaëlle, Adrian and Iztok. They’ll do just fine...