Thursday 29 October 2020

Dutch join initiative to force MEPs to come clean on their expenses

European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in BrusselsDutch broadcaster Nos is one of the backers of an initiative to force the European parliament to disclose how all  751 MEPs spend their allowances.

The case is being taken to the European court of justice because the parliament itself has refused to come clean on how MEPs spend their generous allocation of expenses, the broadcaster says on Friday.

As well as a monthly salary, MEPs get thousands of euros to pay for travel, support staff and general costs. They also get a €304 daily allowance and can claim two-thirds of any medical expenses.

Last year the total bill, including salaries, came to €474m, which is over 25% of the parliamentary budget, Nos says.

Efforts to free up expenses claims last year using country by country freedom of information legislation failed on privacy grounds. In addition, officials said it would be ‘too much work’ to dig out the relevant information, Nos says.

In April, MEPs voted to increase their allowances covering staff costs to €22,879 a month but rejected a move to subject their expenses to an obligatory audit.

In total, 29 journalists representing every member state are involved in the campaign, which has been dubbed ‘The MEPs Project’.

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