Published On: Sun, Jul 8th, 2018

MEPs reject reforms bringing transparency to £4,000-a-month expenses claims | World | News


The Bureau of the European Parliament voted by a narrow majority to throw out proposals to forcing MEPs to keep receipts, employ a professional paying agent to carry out checks on their General Expenditure Allowance (GEA) and return unused funds.

The reform was supported by Vice-Presidents of Greens, Liberals, Left and Italian Five Stars with two Social-Democrats on their side.

The GEA of almost £4,000 per month is designed for office expenses such as rent and stationery and is paid on top of salaries as a tax free lump sum.

It adds up to a total of more than £35m a year and currently goes directly to MEPs’ personal bank accounts with no transparency around how the money is spent and no obligation to return unused funds.

The vote came a year after European Parliament President Antonio Tajani pledged to bring greater transparency to how the Uu’s 751 MEPs are compensated for expenses.

The European Parliament‘s rapporteur for transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions, Sven Giegold, said: “Voting down transparency of MEP’s expenses is a shoot in the foot of the European democracy.

“The argument of Christian-Democrats and some Social-Democrats on administrative cost is tragically short sighted when anti-European populists search for our every wrongdoing.

“The apparent lack of transparency of the GEA threatens to weaken the European Parliament‘s fight against misspending of EU funds and corruption.“

Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman said: “The perfect answer is to leave the EU, which we’re doing.

“The whole system is outrageous. It’s a very patchy system and the bureau doesn’t want to do anything about it. Sometimes no one knows quite where the money goes.”

Campaign group Transparency International branded the decision “absolutely scandalous”.



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