.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MEP stalking

It had to happen and thank goodness it has. After all the fuss over MPs' expenses and concern about the opacity of those claimed by MEPs, somebody has produced an easy to use website so that we can track what our European representatives are getting.

EU Integrity Watch has been put together by the pressure group Transparency International who have collated information made available by the parliament, and put it all together on a user-friendly website.

The BBC reveal some of the headlines: Nearly half of all MEPs have declared no outside financial interests at all. But 398 MEPs cumulatively earn up to 18.3m euros (£14m; $23m) per year. And a select few - 12 MEPs in all - each earn more than 10,000 euros per month, above and beyond their generous parliamentary salaries and allowances.

Among the biggest earners from "outside jobs" are the leading liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt, and two former French ministers - Michele Alliot-Marie and Rachida Dati. The UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge is also in Transparency's top 12.

But the big problem is that the Parliament is not asking the right questions or requiring their members to declare the right information:

"The system isn't working," says Carl Dolan, the director of Transparency International EU. "Trust in decision-making requires effective checks and credible sanctions on possible conflicts. Unfortunately, the parliament's current efforts pay only lip-service to this principle."

The trouble is that the parliamentary declaration forms are so vague that it is hard to find out more details about what many MEPs actually do in their spare time. "Consultant" and "Manager" are frequently-used terms.

Campaigners want the parliament to have much clearer guidelines, and effective sanctions against anyone issuing false declarations.

"The rules usually only change in the wake of scandals," Mr Dolan says. "We're trying to persuade the European Parliament to get ahead of the game."

In the last few weeks MEPs have made plenty of noise in confirmation hearings about potential conflicts of interest among incoming European Commissioners. Perhaps they now need to put their own house in order.

And so say all of us.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?