Does your MEP run a ghost office?

Is your member of the European Parliament a rent payer or a subsidy player? Last week the journalists of The MEPs Project revealed that one out of three MEPs across the EU does not maintain a national office or has declined to disclose its location. Citizens are now asking:

What is the address of my MEP’s national office, if any? How much of the tax-free 4342 Euro allowance per month does he or she pay in office rent? Did my MEP vote to hide or disclose how this money is spent? Continue Reading →

European Parliament under pressure

For the 750 members of the European Parliament, last Wednesday was not just another day at the office, as media outlets from Italy to Sweden put out the results of an unprecedented investigation.  

In a coordinated effort journalists from all member states had unearthed cases where MEPs used taxpayers’ money to pay rent to themselves or to their political party. They reported how MEPs from member states as different as the Netherlands or Bulgaria flatly denied disclosing what they spend in expenses. These reports put the EU institutions under pressure. The EU anti-fraud office OLAF immediately announced it would look into cases where MEPs pay rent to themselves. Continue Reading →

Citizens pay for EU ghost offices –  not used and not on the map

Each member of the European Parliament gets 4 342 euros every month, mainly to fund an office in their own country. But offices for 249 MEPs do not exist or seem nowhere to be found. So far 133 out of the 748 current parliamentarians told what they pay in office rent, an investigation shows. Each MEP receives a so-called General Expenditure Allowance (GEA), costing the EU around €40 million annually. It is intended to provide for national offices, but following research by journalists at ‘The MEPs Project,’ it seems the funds are potentially being misused. Continue Reading →

EU-commissioner says MEPs should open up

Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager says the Parliament ought to disclose the working conditions and salaries for assistants hired by MEPs, as she comments on an on-going transparency case. In the case brought to the European Court of Justice in 2015, 29 journalists have challenged the European Parliaments refusal to disclose reimbursements paid to its 751 elected members. The Parliament’s administration, backed by its legal service, claims a disclosure of how the money is used would infringe the MEP’s privacy.  The journalists argue that elected politicians’ use of taxpayer’s money cannot be shielded behind privacy rules. On top of salaries, reimbursements for travel costs, and daily allowances for attending meetings, each MEP receives up to 21 379 euros for hiring staff, and 4 320 euro in ”general allowances” per month. Each MEPs thus disposes over all in all some 36 000 euros on a monthly basis. Continue Reading →

US blocks antibiotic measures in TTIP

EU attempts to regulate against antimicrobial resistance are opposed by the US in the TTIP-negotiations. American and interests and ”stakeholders” threaten proposed EU-legislation

 

The EU wants to reduce farmer’s use of antibiotics in animal feed. The US does not want any such measures written into a TTIP- agreement. »That’s how we understand it, although we haven’t been told right out and we haven’t got access to any negotiating texts to prove it,« says Zoltán Massay-Kosubek from European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), an umbrella organisation for health related interest groups in Brussels. EPHA takes regularly part in TTIP Advisory Group, a forum set up by the Commission to promote the understanding of TTIP among interest groups. Continue Reading →

Drug resistance: How superbug-infected pigs from Denmark get into Britain unchecked

Pigs infected with the superbug MRSA can be freely imported into the UK due to regulatory loopholes, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveal. An investigation has established that there is no mandatory screening for live breeding pigs leaving Denmark – where MRSA is rife throughout the country’s herd – and entering the UK. Experts are warning that if no action is taken, the UK’s pig herd could rapidly become infected. Such an epidemic could have a serious impact on human health, according to leading Danish microbiologist and MRSA expert, Professor Hans Jørn Kolmos. Thousands of people have contracted the livestock-associated strain of MRSA in Denmark and six have died from it in the last five years. Continue Reading →

Poor results: Giving up on resistant bacteria in Danish pigs

In Denmark, there are more than twice as many pigs as humans, and twice as many antibiotics given to the animals as well. A perfect breeding ground for resistant bacteria – to which politics have failed to respond.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In November 2013, a 63-year-old man with diabetes and end-stage kidney got fever because of inflammation. Samples of blood grew the resistant pig-bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, CC398. Three weeks later the man died. Continue Reading →

Nye 2015-tal: Svin og mink er de helt dominerende MRSA-smittekilder

Mens 68 pct. procent af de konventionelle svinebedrifter har MRSA CC398, er der kun konstateret smittebærende svin hos seks procent af de økologiske svinebedrifter. Det viser Fødevarestyrelsens screening fra efteråret 2015. I minkindustrien er derimod hver femte virksomhed (23 pct.) inficeret med MRSA CC398, og som noget nyt blev der også fundet MRSA CC398 hos 10 pct. af de undersøgte besætninger med slagtekvæg. Continue Reading →

Den hemmelige svinestreg

Revisorer har konstateret udbredt bilagsfusk med EU-midler i en række projekter i Videncenter for Svineproduktion. Fødevareministeriet har for et halvt år siden i stilhed lukket sagen uden at anmelde den til bagmandspolitiet eller EU, og ministeriet har valgt kun at undersøge en meget begrænset del af centrets projekter. Efter at der har været lukket for pengekassen i to år, må Seges, som centret hedder i dag, igen modtage EU-støtte. Straks alarmen lød fra Deloitte, trådte direktør Søren Gade i karakter. Revisionsfirmaet havde meddelt, at der var konstateret “væsentlige fejl” i et projektregnskab i Videncenter for Svineproduktion (VSP). Continue Reading →

Here is where pigs infected with MRSA live

If you are a pig farmer and are looking for breeding animals that are free from MRSA, you will find here the first list ever showing farms whose pigs have officially been tested by the authorities and found to be infected. You will have to take extra precautions if you want to deal with these farms. You can demand that they produce a recent MRSA attest so you can know if their pigs are still infected. If you are looking for a job in the farm sector, the list can be used to find establishments which have or have had problems with bacteria in the workplace. For producers, neighbors and the local population in the vicinity of pig farmers, the list also provides clear and honest information about the presence of infection, as the Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) investigated it in 2011 and 2014. See the list over 205 pig farms where there was found MRSACC398-bacteria in the period 2011-2014

In the latest investigation from 2014 there are 181 larger pig production units, which either produce piglets for sale or pigs to be slaughtered. Continue Reading →