Brussels Gravy Train Avoids Derailment as MEPs Vote Against Expenses Accountability

Patrick Seeger / AFP
Patrick Seeger / AFP

Members of the European Parliament have voted eight to one against proposals which would inject greater accountability into their generous expenses schemes.

The Parliamentarians from across Europe currently get £3000 a month as a ‘general fund’ paid directly into their bank accounts. The sum is designed to be spent on office expenses, including rent, phones, utility bills and computers. But no tabs are kept on where the money, totalling €39 million across the Parliament, actually goes.

Gilles Pargneaux, a socialist MEP from Lille tabled amendments to the rules which would see MEPs having to account for the spending with a full breakdown of costs. But his colleagues watered down the proposals during a session in Strasbourg this week, removing any obligations on accountability.

According to the Express, a paragraph expressing “concern” that the allowance “is not audited and that it is paid without proper supporting documents” was removed, as was text expressing regret that “there are no precise rules for the expenditures that may be covered by the allowance.”

A section saying that the Parliamentary Budget Control Committee was “astonished that Members do not have to account for the way they have used the allowance” also didn’t make the final cut.

In the end, vote was lost by 576 to 74, the Times has reported, with even M. Pargneaux voting against his own proposals.