Tuesday

19th Feb 2019

MEPs may scrap call for scrutiny on allowances

  • MEPs receive a monthly office allowance, but are not held accountable how they spend it (Photo: EUobserver)

Members of the two largest political groups in the European Parliament have tabled an amendment that would weaken a call for greater scrutiny on the way MEPs spend their office allowances.

The amendment will be put to the vote on Wednesday (29 April) as part of a wider vote which would sign off the European Parliament's 2013 budget.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • MEPs will vote on their allowances Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: European Parliament / Pietro Naj-Oleari)

Each of the 751 MEPs receives a monthly “general expenditure allowance” of €4,299, to cover the cost of office(s), computers, telephones, and other office-related expenses. But there are no checks on how they spend it.

The original text, which was adopted by the parliament's budgetary affairs committee in March, included the phrase: “[the Parliament] considers it advisable for every Member to submit an end-of-year public report on these allowances”.

The amendment, if adopted, would change that to: “[the Parliament] calls on the Bureau [the EP's administrative body] to work on the definition of more precise rules regarding the accountability of expenditures authorised under this allowance, without causing additional costs to Parliament”.

Furthermore, the amendment states that if it is adopted, two paragraphs (43 and 44) criticising the virtually unchecked payout of the allowances, would fall. These paragraphs call for “the introduction of obligatory annual reporting by the Members of their expenditures paid out of” the office allowance.

Dutch Liberal MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, who is the shadow rapporteur in the file and favours greater scrutiny, questioned the automatism that paragraphs 43 and 44 should fall, were the amendment adopted.

The amendment was tabled by Spanish socialist MEP Ines Ayala, German conservative MEP Markus Pieper, and French socialist MEP Gilles Pargneaux. Pargneaux was also the author of the original report.

While the conservative and the socialist groups in the parliament, who enjoy a majority together, often have considerable party discipline, Gerbrandy notes that divisions on the issue of MEP office allowances are common in most groups.

“It has to do with what is common in an MEP's national political culture. Members of the German national parliament for example also receive a lump-sum allowance”, the Dutch MEP said, adding that the national perception of 'Brussels' will also likely be a factor influencing how MEPs will vote.

Update: The amendment was adopted with 576 votes in favour, 74 against, and 48 abstentions.

MEPs to raise monthly allowances

MEPs are increasing their monthly allowances, arguing that it is justified as they have remained unchanged since 2011.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia kicks out Danske Bank over money laundering scandal
  2. May and Juncker meet over Brexit on Wednesday
  3. EU promises to open up advisory groups
  4. EU agrees to limit CO2 emissions by trucks
  5. Juncker under attack in Hungary government ad
  6. EU would not oppose extending Brexit talks, Juncker said
  7. Juncker expects Trump not to impose new car tariffs
  8. Former EU official sentenced for office rape

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  2. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  3. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  4. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat
  5. Italian populists could be second biggest force in EU parliament
  6. Merkel defends Russia ties, ridicules Trump on cars
  7. British MPs condemn Facebook CEO's misrule
  8. EU's chance to step up on Hungary and Poland

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us