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Open Source Group Urges EU Parliament Staff to Reject Microsoft 'bribe'

PCW - The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is urging workers at the European Parliament not to accept free licenses to Microsoft programs, saying it would be a breach of ethics.

Microsoft is offering home-use licenses for Microsoft Office, Project (project management software) and Visio (a diagramming tool) through the Parliament's administration office. Such offers are not unusual in Microsoft's contracts with large organizations, but, said FSFE's Karsten Gerloff, "political institutions like the European Parliament are bound to higher standards."

The offer is for Parliament staffers only and will probably not be extended to elected members. However, "staffers are the ones who make the wheels turn. They're the ones who do all the legwork, and they control access to the MEPs," pointed out Gerloff.

"Competition and procurement issues aside, it doesn't seem proper that the people making the rules for the European market should accept gifts from the very companies they're regulating," he continued.