Thursday

15th Nov 2018

Dutch MEP to lose €1,530 in Le Pen voting penalty

  • De Graaff (l) with ENF secretary-general Ludovic de Danne (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament will withhold €1,530 in allowances from Dutch member Marcel de Graaff, for unauthorised voting on behalf of his far-right French colleague Marine Le Pen.

The penalty is the result of an inquiry by EP president Martin Schulz, after De Graaff was seen using Le Pen's electronic voting card at a session in Strasbourg on 28 October, which is not allowed by parliament's rules.

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

“The president has decided to impose a penalty of mister De Graaff for his conduct during the votes at the sitting of the 28th of October,” said EP vice-president Ioan Mircea Pascu on Thursday (17 December) at a plenary session in Strasbourg.

De Graaff and Le Pen are co-chairs of the far-right Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group.

Initially, the French leader of the National Front was accused of being involved in the incident. The leader of the largest group in parliament, centre-right EPP head Manfred Weber, had asked for a probe by Schulz into the “suspicion of fraud” by Le Pen.

With the penalty for De Graaff, Schulz implicitly acquitted Le Pen, who had already denied wrongdoing.

“I am totally innocent in this affair,” she told French media shortly after it came out, saying De Graaff had been “clumsy.”

She was received by Schulz on Wednesday to explain what happened.

The Dutch MEP does not have to pay a fine sensu stricto, but rather has to forego five instalments of a €306 daily allowance, which MEPs receive when they attend sessions or meetings in Brussels or Strasbourg.

Considering that MEPs also receive a monthly salary of €6,250.37 (after EU, but before national taxes); a €4,320 allowance for office expenses; and travel expenses, the penalty will not financially ruin the Dutch politician.

Following the announcement by Pascu, some members applauded. Then, De Graaff could be seen on camera looking over his shoulder, rubbing his thumb and index finger - a popular gesture, meaning money.

Schulz made the decision based on article 166 of the parliament's rules of procedure, which lists possible penalties for “exceptionally serious cases of disorder or disruption.”

On the basis of that rule, Schulz could also have suspended the member. The “forfeiture of entitlement” to the daily allowance could have been between two and 10 days.

News in Brief

  1. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published
  2. UK cabinet agrees Brexit deal after marathon session
  3. Czechs join other EU states in rejecting UN migration pact
  4. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  5. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  6. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  7. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  8. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls

Opinion

Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar

In Brussels, PR professionals and lobbying consultants are working for some of the world's most autocratic regimes. And we have no way of knowing for sure who they are, how much they are paid, or what they are up to.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot
  2. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  3. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  4. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  5. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  6. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  7. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  8. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us