Madrid, 17 October 2017 – Access Info Europe has criticised the European Parliament’s refusal to disclose information in full relating to the revision of Member of the European Parliament’s General Expenditure Allowance (GEA), following an access to EU documents request.
The Parliament Bureau’s ‘Ad hoc Working Group on the GEA’ denied access to a note containing the background, advice, and proposals for the rules, and a list of questions to be discussed, fearing that disclosure of the information would make it unable to reach a decision on the review of MEP allowances.
“The refusal to recognise the overriding public interest in the revision of the rules relating to MEP allowances is concerning, especially as these discussions will determine how almost €40m of public money is spent every year,” stated Andreas Pavlou, Access Info Europe.
The management of the GEA has come under considerable criticism, as anticorruption watchdog Transparency International EU recently revealed there are almost no financial controls or transparency over the GEA budget line, even though almost all MEPs claim allowances from the fund.
Yet, MEPs are aware of the need for greater transparency, having called upon the Bureau to look into the rules around the GEA and the need to introduce an accountability mechanism back in 2016.
“Everyone knows that the GEA structure needs reform, but it seems only a select few will take the decision with no apparent inclination to have open and frank conversations with their colleagues in the Parliament, let alone with the general public,” added Pavlou.
The pressure for greater spending transparency has grown in recent years. A case before the European Court of Justice against the European Parliament by 28 journalists for its refusal to release documents relating to MEPs’ expenses, is expected to be heard later this year.
You can access the original request and appeal here: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/parliament_bureaus_ad_hoc_workin
You can download and read both replies here:
Reply to the original request:
Reply to the confirmatory application:
For more information, please contact:
Luisa Izuzquiza, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
Andreas Pavlou, Campaigner and Researcher | Access Info Europe
Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558
Photo: European Parliament via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)