EU Court to decide on the right to know about MEPs’ expenditures
The upcoming public hearing at the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of 29 journalists (from every EU member state) against the European Parliament will take place on October 19, 2017 in Luxembourg. This important case relates to twenty-nine journalists who have filed 27 complaints with the European Court of Justice against the European Parliament which refused to give information on how members of the European Parliament (MEP) spend their allowances. The journalists asked for documents regarding the money MEPs receive on top of their salaries, including a general allowance, travel allowance, daily subsistence and funds for staffing, but the Parliament refused to open these expenditures to public scrutiny because of privacy concerns.
The monthly pre-tax salary of MEPs is €8,484 which is the equivalent of an annual gross salary of €101,808 (since July 2016). The cost is met from the European Parliament’s budget and is subject to an EU tax and accident insurance contribution, after which the monthly salary is €6,611. Journalists are not asking questions on these salaries but on extra. MEP allowance for office costs (called “general expenditures”) of €4,299 per month and for 2017 this allowance increased to €4,342 per month. MEPs have also monthly allowance of €24,164 to pay their assistants. The European Parliament’s total budget represents about 1% of all EU expenditure. About one fifth of that 1% is allocated to MEPs’ total expenditure at present.
“The European Federation of Journalists is supporting European journalists’ request for more transparency, accountability and they do it for the public right to access information on tax related issues which deserves our biggest attention”, said Mogens Blicher Bjerregard, EFJ President.
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