Tuesday

25th Sep 2018

Eurosceptic MEPs help reject financial transparency

  • Members of the UK Independence Party, the Dutch Party for Freedom, and the French National Front, often criticise 'Brussels' for spending too much taxpayers' money. (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Members of the Italian Five Star Movement were the only eurosceptic members of the European Parliament to support a text which aimed to increase scrutiny on the monthly office allowances that MEPs receive.

Members of the UK Independence Party, the Dutch Party for Freedom, and the French National Front, who often criticise “Brussels” for spending too much taxpayers' money, did nothing to prevent the request for an obligatory annual report on office expenditures from being scrapped.

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

They voted in favour of, or did not vote on, an amendment which deleted this request.

The amendment was adopted last Wednesday (29 April) during the plenary session in Strasbourg by an overwhelming majority: 576 in favour, 74 against, and 48 abstentions.

According to this website's analysis of voting behaviour, based on data compiled by Votewatch, most of the No votes – those in favour of calling for a transparency report – were cast by members of the Green group. All 48 present Green MEPs voted No.

The other No voters were 17 members of the Italian anti-establishment party Five Star Movement; three Czech communist members; two Greek communist members; three members of the Dutch centre-left Labour party; and one Spanish member of the centre-right Partido Popular.

The three Dutch Labour members were the only three rebels in the centre-left socialist group, while Spanish deputy Agustin Diaz de Mera Garcia Consuegra was the only rebel in the centre-right EPP.

The amendment was proposed by the two largest groups in the parliament, the centre-right and centre-left groups.

It changed the phrase: “[the Parliament] considers it advisable for every member to submit an end-of-year public report on these allowances” into a call on 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”.

Each of the 751 MEPs receives a monthly “general expenditure allowance” of €4,299, but there is no control on how that money is spent.

Liberal MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, who has said he is in favour of greater scrutiny of MEP expenses, voted in favour of the amendment.

In an explanation to this website, he said that he thought the amendment itself “did not change much”.

However, the Dutch MEP noted that he thought he would have the chance to vote on two paragraphs from the original text, which requested “the introduction of obligatory annual reporting by the members of their expenditures paid out of the GEA, or, failing that, for at least opening a procedure for verification of the members' accounts on a voluntary basis”.

“Our voting list said that we would vote on those two paragraphs separately”, Gerbrandy said, noting that the amendment and those paragraphs could have coexisted.

But ahead of the vote on the amendment, EP vice-president Antonio Tajani, who chaired the vote, said that adoption of the amendment would mean the two paragraphs would fall.

Gerbrandy has written a letter together with Hungarian Green MEP Benedek Javor to parliament president Schulz to ask for “clarification” why the two paragraphs were not put to the vote.

But speaking to this website, Gerbrandy noted that the outcome of the vote cannot be reversed.

“Not much can be done about this, except for a mea culpa from Schulz”, noted the MEP.

MEPs may scrap call for scrutiny on allowances

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

Opinion

Tax transparency: Keeping the public in the dark?

EU member states agreed this week to exchange information on tax rulings but not to make it public. A basic measure of transparency would allow an informed public debate on tax policy.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  2. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  3. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  4. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit
  5. UK to allow EU flights in no-deal Brexit
  6. Greek reporters arrested after story on 'mishandled' EU funds
  7. Austrian minister urges police to out foreign sex offenders
  8. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group

Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president

Europe must have a robust foreign policy and nurture high-tech industries, Slovak EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic has said in his bid to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU commission president.

'Every group split' ahead of EU copyright vote

Political groups in the European Parliament are split about how to vote for a directive that would reform the EU's copyright regime - amid warnings that freedom of expression and creators' rights are at risk.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  2. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  3. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  4. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  5. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  6. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  7. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  8. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us