Tuesday

20th Feb 2018

MEPs vote to keep second jobs, protect Schulz

  • Around half of all MEPs have a second income, says Corporate Europe Observatory (Photo: European Parliament)

Efforts to ban side jobs for MEPs were scuppered on Thursday (28 April) when the European Parliament in a surprise move decided to axe any future vote on the issue.

MEPs voted to delete a paragraph calling for the ban as part of a much larger discharge report on how the EU parliament spent its money in 2014.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Second or third jobs for MEPs have raised thorny conflict of interest issues between their duties as public lawmakers and their gainful employment in the private sector, on which they legislate.

"We believe that most industries have MEPs who are employed in one way or another by those industries, and we believe this is a conflict of interest," Green Hungarian MEP Benedek Javor, who wanted the ban imposed, told this website.

A last minute demand by the centre-right EPP group, with the backing of European Parliament president Martin Schulz, put the paragraph up for a vote.

The procedure was highly unusual.

The demand to vote on the paragraph was made after Tuesday's deadline to submit such requests.

"It was approved by president Schulz personally, that's how it came to the voting list today, which I believe is completely unacceptable," said Javor.

Three hundred and seventy nine MEPs voted to cut the text from the report against 209. The others abstained.

The deleted paragraph had asked for "a clear ban on members holding additional jobs or other paid work".

Spitzenkandidat

The vote came amid a Socialist-led effort to also muffle criticism against Schulz over allegations he used parliament resources during his campaign to become the president of the European Commission.

The campaign was part of the so-called Spitzenkandidaten process.

Before taking up his duties as parliament chief, Schulz was the party leader of the Socialist group.

The Socialists had tabled around a dozen amendments. Most were later withdrawn but three amendments, backed by the EPP, sailed through.

The three erased the most tricky questions over the affair.

The original text had asked Schulz to provide additional information on whether he had chartered private flights in the first six months of the election year.

That part was cut.

Text was also cut that asked Schulz to provide detailed information from 2012 on how he "has kept his duties in office separate from his preparations to head the Socialists and Democrats' list in the European elections, in particular with regard to the staff in his cabinet and in Parliament's information offices and to travel expenses".

The last joint amendment cut broader criticism over Schulz’s use of converting the Twitter official account of the “President of the European Parliament” into a personal campaign vehicle.

Asked to comment, a spokesperson from the Socialist group said they "thought attacks on Schulz were a bit unfair".

The Socialists said the amendments also dealt with wider issues on the Spitzenkandidat process.

"There were a lot of things that weren't very clear with the [Spitzenkandidat] rules, so we felt there was too much criticism of Schulz," he said.

Details

The president spokesperson, Armin Machmer, said Schulz had provided a detailed list of his travels and activities in full transparency, clearly differentiating parliament activities from campaign activities.

"In addition the president has voluntarily forfeited his daily parliament allowance during the election campaign," he said an email.

Machmer disputed the allegations about Schulz's Twitter account.

He said Schulz's personal account existed before his election as EP president.

"It was standard practice of those EP Presidents of the Twitter era to continue to use their established accounts," he said.

In addition to his personal account opened in 2008, Schulz has a second account, "@EP_President", opened in November 2013 before the last EU elections, which Machmer said "will be passed on to his successor".

Ethics drive at EU parliament hits a wall

Plans to increase transparency at the European Parliament have been postponed, in a move likely to result in weaker proposals when it goes to a vote.

Socialists dismiss EU parliament unity plea

Socialist leader Gianni Pittella rejects a call for continued cooperation from his centre-right counterpart, in a dispute that threatens the balance of power in the house.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs approve anti-smuggling bill on tobacco
  2. SPD members start voting on new Merkel-led government
  3. Barroso lobbied Katainen for Goldman Sachs
  4. Berlusconi's coalition ahead with 34.7% support
  5. Moscovici: Greece '99 percent' there to get new bailout
  6. Simone Veil to enter France's Pantheon in July
  7. German poll puts far-right AfD ahead of SPD for first time
  8. Commissioners poised to join EU-Mexico trade talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. Tomorrow the Brussels Pre-Event
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  3. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  4. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  6. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  12. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February

Latest News

  1. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds
  2. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  3. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe
  4. Poland wrong to log in ancient forest, says EU lawyer
  5. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme
  6. Commissioner Katainen confirms Barroso lobbied him
  7. Eurogroup chief pledge on transparency after meeting MPs
  8. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?