Wednesday, March 19, 2008
european parliament transparancy initiative
Below is an email which we have sent to all UK MEPs today.
It follows a whole series of disturbing reports over recent weeks - for example see:
Most MEPs are away this week - so we probably won't be publishing our first summary of their responses until next week. If we get a good response from UK MEPs we will be broadening it out to all MEPs.
Let us know what you think and about where we should go with this next.
European Parliament Transparency Initiative
Following a series of damaging stories about the European Parliament in recent weeks we are writing to all UK MEPs asking for your help in restoring trust in the Parliament.
The irregularities discussed in the recent internal audit report paint a picture of widespread abuse of the current expenses system.
Our aim is to find a way to reassure voters that UK MEPs are not in any way implicated in these problems.
That is why we are today writing to all UK MEPs asking them if you will state:
1. Who is your paying agent/service provider?
2. What are his or her book-keeping or accountancy qualifications?
3. How much of the money claimed by your paying agent or service provider since your election has been paid out so far, and how much is still in his or her account?
4. Have you ever claimed less than the full entitlement, or repaid any excess?
5. Do you employ any family members?
6. Are you prepared to list the people currently in your employment (not their salary levels)?
We are not seeking to criticise Members of the Parliament for employing family members. We accept the argument that in many cases family members will work longer hours for less money than anyone else. However, it is essential to ensure that such arrangements are not abused, and we believe transparency is the best way to ensure this.
We believe disclosure of these details will help to restore trust that public money is being well spent. Our aim in this initiative is to restore confidence in the Parliament and MEPs of all parties. We will be publishing regular reports on the progress of the initiative.
We are very grateful for your help in this.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about the initiative.
Posted by Open Europe blog team at 4:17 p.m.