Tuesday, 21 June 2011

European Parliament: "big, corrupt and unaccountable bureacracy"

The Wall Street Journal is taking a look at corruption in the European Parliament and the parliament´s efforts to prevent the publishing of a crucial report about corrupted MEPs:

Rumors of European Union expense abuse have been circulating since 2008, when news of a damning internal audit surfaced in the Daily Telegraph. The so-called Galvin Report, named after its author, European Parliament internal auditor Robert Galvin, was part of a 2006 annual internal audit. In 2008, Irish lawyer and activist Ciarán Toland applied for the report to be released on the basis of an European law that allows public access to parliamentary documents. Brussels refused.

Little wonder. The few details disclosed in February 2008 led to an internal investigation of MEP policy. Later that year, the European Parliament released a statement that no individual cases of fraud have been revealed, though today more than 10 MEPs are under investigation for their abuses of allowances. Some members, such as Britain's Chris Davies, wanted a public hearing.

Instead, the European Parliament suppressed the report and cut MEPs' allowances for travel and constituency offices, while limiting their monthly salary to €7,957 ($11,355) a month, which had previously been directly correlated with the salaries of MPs in their home country. Despite these efforts, Mr. Davies noted in 2009 that many of Mr. Galvin's suggestions had not been implemented.

Last week the Sunday Times of London published more of the documents. It turns out Mr. Galvin's audit discovered how some MEPs claimed well over one million euros each in what were supposed to be business and staff expenses during their terms. Some MEPs granted themselves bonuses 150% greater than their base salary, diverted money to front companies and had roughly €180,000 in staff allowances without receipts. In sum, more than €100 million was not properly accounted for.


Mr. Toland is now back on the hunt. He brought the European Parliament to high court this year, arguing that, since it is a democratic institution, citizens have the right to see the Galvin Report. He also noted, rightly, that only transparency can help improve the institution. Sweden, Finland and Denmark are backing him.
But the EU continues to stonewall. Parliamentary lawyers responded in court this year that releasing the documents would "derail" MEP decision-making (though much of the content has already been leaked over the Internet). The EU's highest court, the European Court of Justice, found that the Parliament acted unlawfully in denying Mr. Toland's request. The Parliament has until June 22 to appeal, and Mr. Toland has re-applied for an official release of the Galvin Report.
The European Parliament was supposed to be a great exercise in transnational democracy. At the current rate, it's looking more like one more big, corrupt and unaccountable bureaucracy.

Read the entire article here


Yet another example of the sad state of the European Parliament. What an enormous waste of taxpayers´ money this bogus body is! No wonder, most people never bother to show up at EU "elections".

1 comment:

A K Haart said...

With this level of stonewalling we are bound to assume that things are pretty bad. The only sensible approach is to own up, clean up and move on. Maybe things are so bad that even that isn't feasible. Who knows? We just assume the worst as we are bound to do.