The MEPs Project

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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Danish MEPs keep quiet about their use of EU-funds

Most of the Danish Members of the European Parliament refuse to reveal their records concerning how they make use of EU-funds. A request for access to all their invoices has been denied by the European Parliament. The matter has been brought to light by two Danish journalists, Peter Jeppesen, Ekstra Bladet, and Nils Mulvad, Investigative Reporting Denmark, as part of an EU-wide collaboration, in looking at the refusals from the Parliament to the EU Court of Justice. On top of their monthly salaries, MEPs receive about 32,000 DKK monthly in so-called pencil money. This is equivalent to 4,300 Euro. Continue Reading →

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Historic initiative by journalists taking the EU-Parliament to Court

Journalists from all over Europe have asked the EU-court to rule on the hidden records of parliamentarians’ allowances. The 29 journalists representing all EU member countries have come together in a simultaneous complaint over the Parliament to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The group called The MEPs Project (MEP – Member of European Parliament) consists of individuals who have all tried to get access to documentation of how the elected politicians from their respective country use their allowances. That is money given for different reasons on top of the salaries. All in all the accounts for 751 parliamentarian’s allowances have been asked for. Continue Reading →

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