E.U. Parliament Spending Out Of Control?

An upcoming report by a member of the European Parliament‘s own budgetary control committee raises questions about the E.U Parliament’s expenditures and the institution’s budgetary discharge procedure. The report will direct strong criticism towards the legislature’s procurement procedure and raises concerns over recent calls to increase money for MEP assistants before a proper review is carried out.

“The document ultimately asks one simple question: Is it correct that parliament should sign off on its own accounts?”

Bart Staes


A report by a member of the European Parliament’s own budgetary control committee is set to question the very fundamentals of the institution’s budgetary discharge procedure, with its author coming under considerable pressure from the institutions’s bureau as a result, the EUobserver writes.

Still in the process of being finalised, the report’s rapporteur – Belgian Green MEP Bart Staes – told EUobserver the document “ultimately asks one simple question: Is it correct that parliament should sign off on its own accounts?”

While the council of ministers, representing member states, also has to approve parliament’s expenditure, a gentleman’s agreement means scrutiny is kept to a bare minimum.

The upcoming document, set to form the basis for committee debate on parliament’s 2008 expenditure over the coming weeks, will direct strong criticism towards the legislature’s procurement procedure and raises concerns over recent calls to increase money for MEP assistants before a proper review is carried out.

According to the EUobserver , the 31-pager will also raise the alarm over the substantial increase in the number of “negotiated procedures” rather than open tender contracts awarded by parliament throughout 2008, criticising the administration’s suggestion prior to the report’s drafting that their number is simply “difficult to reduce further.”

As well as this, sources point to the roughly €7 million spent on studies by parliament each year, suggesting there is a huge level of overlap with studies coming out of other institutions such as the European Commission.

The report is likely to be peppered with references to the need to show taxpayers their money is being spent correctly, in order to strengthen public confidence in the institution. Assurances that parliament’s 2008 budget of €1.4 billion was spent correctly should stem from rigorous auditing “systems,” rather than trust alone, it will say.

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