Brussels, 24-26 January 2014 – This year’s Hackathon of the European Parliament, attended by Access Info Europe and other activists and programmers, resulted in an interactive visualisation of MEP assets declarations. Other projects by participants included an application for analysing voting, an application for searching declarations of interests, and a website that allows you to see which subjects have been tackled by the EU parliament over the past legislature.
At the Hackathon, Access Info took part in the project to visualise the assets declarations of MEPs, helping to create an informative and interactive visualisation for citizens to see how many MEP’s had a second job, to which party they belong and how much they earn. Click on these links to take a look at a summary of the statistics and the actual visualisation.
Since 2012, every member of the European Parliament has to declare what he or she did before their current term, what sidejobs and side-incomes he or she has and whether he or she has any potential conflicts of interests – basically anything that could impact on her or his impartiality of focus as a legislator.
As part of the project preparation, a team of eight activists at the Hackaton downloaded the original and updated assets declarations of 977 MEP’s, of which they were able to analyse 506, in order to make the final visualisation.
The data scrapping threw up another revelation, now available on Flickr: The 24 ways to declare nothing!
The activists also formulated some recommendations to MEPs in order to make assets declarations more transparent. These included:
a) No more scanned declarations – the new European Parliament urgently needs an online submission system
b) Provide the data from this online database in open data formats so that it can be analysed and re-used
c) Provide clear and better guidance for MEPs on how to fill out the declarations and when and how to update old declarations
d) The bands for declaring income should be replaced by an accurate figure
e) And new MEPs: Think about whether you have “Nothing to declare” because there may be potential conflicts of interest when you make laws for 500 million EU citizens!
You can find out more about the Hackathon, here.