May 19, 2008
I was taught that one should practise what ones preaches. The European Parliament rightly demands transparency of Commission expenditure. Why then does it refuse to disclose MEPs’ expenses? This reticence encourages a negative press – who need little encouragement anyway – to criticise Parliament.
According to a News of the World survey:
• On one nine-day trip to Australia, just 18 hours was spent on official business, while MEPs had five days set aside for cruising on a yacht, watching opera, touring vineyards and visiting Ayers Rock.
• The most expensive trip was by 67 MEPs to Barbados in 2006, which cost European taxpayers around £300,000. The purpose of this trip was a conference on reducing poverty.
• Labour’s Glenys Kinnock led a team of MEPs to the luxury resort of the Seychelles in April to visit the tuna fish industry.
Whether or not these trips were justified is a question not being addressed here. But clearly, without transparency, such revelations necessarily reflect badly on Parliament – undesirable at any time but especially during the period leading up to an election.Author : Stanley Crossick