Parliament Bureau must backtrack on disgraceful rejection of scrutiny over MEP expenses

This week the European Parliament’s Bureau – composed of the President and 14 vice-Presidents – narrowly voted (8-6) to reject scrutiny over the €4,400 euros each MEP gets monthly for general spending.

GUE/NGL has vigorously defended greater transparency and accountability on the way MEPs, and EU institutions at large, spend public money. Our group had put forward proposals to increase scrutiny in the Ad-Hoc Working Group tasked to produce recommendations for the Bureau.

The proposals endorsed by overwhelming majority (6-2) include the requirement that MEPs set up a separate bank account for GEA payments and that usage is documented and checked for compliance. MEPs are also required to return any unused amount by the end of the mandate.

GUE/NGL considers it unacceptable that the majority of the Bureau completely disregarded precedence from the relevant committees and plenary resolutions that uphold the principle of transparency and oversight in public spending. MEP expenses should be no exception.

We welcome the amount of public attention this issue has gathered outside of the Parliament, with numerous press reports condemning the move as hypocritical, at a time when the EU is struggling in terms of credibility with the public.

The proposals elaborated by the Ad-Hoc Working Group on General Expenditure Allowance must be given due consideration, in light of past decisions taken by the House.