MEPs declarations of interests lack detail and rigor
Brussels, 19 July 2012 – An analysis of the declarations of interest of the 754 sitting MEPs found several issues with regards to their declarations that prevent citizens from having a full picture about the outside activities and potential conflicts of interests of Members of the European Parliament. The report, researched by ALTER EU member Friends of the Earth Europe reveals that:
– Almost all MEPs submitted their declaration on time, and the two exceptions had justified reasons.
– However, 88 (12%) of the submitted declarations are empty.
– 567 MEPs (75%) declare at least one occupation before taking office; 97 MEPs (13%) declare not having had an occupation prior to taking office and 88 MEPs (12%) left their declarations empty, therefore almost a quarter of MEPs do not declare any occupation prior to taking up their mandate.
– 118 MEPs (16%) declare remunerated activity outside of their mandate but 19 out of them do not declare how much income they receive.
– 387 MEPs (52%) declare memberships of boards or committees; of these 152 (39%) declare having more than three memberships.
To improve the accessibility and accuracy of the information submitted by MEPs, ALTER EU recommends:
– Improvements to the system for the submission of declarations: the introduction of a central searchable online database for all declarations and a fixed deadline for updates, and the translation of declarations into at least one ‘procedural language’ of the European Commission, (English, French or German), in order to enable better access and scrutiny by citizens, journalists and other stakeholders.
– A review by European Parliament President Schulz to assess potential conflicts of interest for MEPs who have outside financial interests.
– The mandate of the advisory committee on the code of conduct should be extended to a proactive monitoring and investigative role. Clarifications about the current wording of the declaration’s questions are needed to avoid confusion over interpretation among MEPs.
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