Friday

30th Jul 2021

Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP

Disgraced Hungarian former MEP and co-founder of Fidesz, József Szájer, could be entitled to over €100,000 from the European Parliament.

Szájer stepped down in shame as an MEP after being caught by police leaving a gay orgy during an illegal lockdown party in Brussels last November.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But the parliament has so far denied freedom of information requests lodged by EUobserver on 1 February, asking to know if he had indeed taken the sum and if so how much.

The appeal against the requests have since been delayed twice, due to "internal consultations."

However, the MEP in charge of appeals is also from Fidesz, Livia Jaroka. She is also a European Parliament vice-president.

It is unclear if Jaroka herself is holding up the appeals.

But appeals do not get past her desk without her signature - posing questions on the impartiality and credibility of the European Parliament's wider system on access to documents.

Aside from belonging to the same political party, Jaroka and Szájer have, in the past, jointly filed amendments together.

VoteWatch data suggests Jaroka's loyalty to her national party, Fidesz, is 98.59 percent.

Before the scandal, the Fidesz co-founder had gained a reputation for rolling back LGBTi rights in Hungary and advocating conservative family values.

A subsequent Fidesz party statement made no mention of the scandal.

"We look forward to his cooperation and suggestions for improvement going forward!" it stated.

But his abrupt departure from the European Parliament also means he is able to claim a so-called transitional allowance.

A transitional allowance is equivalent to an MEP's salary, for one month per year they were in office, and can be paid out for a maximum of two years.

An MEP's base salary as of July 2020 is €7,011.74 after taxes. Szájer had been an MEP since 2004.

A European Parliament spokesperson downplayed Jaroka's role in appeals, noting that final decisions are made by the Bureau.

The Bureau is a political body composed of the parliament president, the 14 parliament vice-presidents and five MEPs who hold the title 'quaestor.'

"The decision is prepared by the services of Mrs Járóka, whatever the case is presented, and according to existing case law," said the spokesperson.

But a report out earlier this year by Transparency International EU, an NGO, has faulted the European Parliament on access requests.

"In practice, the EP's disclosure of documents has been unsatisfactory," it said.

Feature

The shadowy EU parliament boss who likes to say 'no'

Despite 10 years in the job, Klaus Welle is the most powerful man in Brussels few have heard of. The Parliament secretary-general has granted EUobserver access to just one paper written by him - and refused 21 other requests.

Opinion

Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?

Greece has always been Europe's outlier. It faces an implacably hostile neighbour in Turkey under its assertive authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Until Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, Greece had no European Union member state as a neighbour.

News in Brief

  1. Officials worried at infection-surge on Greek holiday islands
  2. EU calls on online platforms to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  3. Russia accused of falling short on Sputnik V deliveries
  4. France: UK quarantine rules 'discriminatory'
  5. Italy's government reaches deal on judicial reform
  6. EU adopts guidelines to 'climate-proof' infrastructure projects
  7. US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation
  8. EU to buy 220,000 supplies of potential Covid treatment

Opinion

Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

After Brexit, the UK ceased to be a member of the Lugano Convention, an international treaty which governs cross-border civil and commercial legal disputes. In May, the European Commission published an opinion calling for the UK's re-application to be rejected.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Malta responsible for journalist's death, inquiry finds
  2. Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?
  3. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  4. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling
  5. Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose
  6. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  7. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  8. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us