SP: reclaim ‘Strasbourg’ rent

26 April 2006

SP: reclaim ‘Strasbourg’ rent

The European Parliament appears to have been for some years the victim of a swindle in which the City of Strasbourg has been demanding excessive rent for the parliament buildings. Commenting on the affair, SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer said “It's one thing to have that confirmed, and quite another to get anything done about it. I propose that the overpayment should simply be claimed back. This seems to me to be both logical and just."

It was revealed this week that the City of Strasbourg has been illegally pocketing part of the income from the rent. “If this was not their intention, then they won't mind if rent payments are suspended to make up for it. The money which has for several years been disappearing in this fashion must be claimed back,” said Mr Meijer, adding that it hardly comes as a surprise to discover that an EU institution is paying out money incorrectly.

Erik Meijer“As long as the EU continues to throw money about so recklessly, it is to be expected that sometimes some of it will get raked off.” Referring to the fact that the European Parliament, which does almost all of its business in Brussels but once a month is forced to move itself lock,stock and barrel to Strasbourg, and at huge expense to the taxpayer, Meijer added that “'it's high time that putting a stop to the senseless circus involved in these monthly moves was put back on to the agenda.”

Meijer also believes that this is further evidence that the EU needs to take a good look at its own procedures, pointing out that “the news of the overpayment came out purely by accident. This shows in any case first and foremost that the internal financial control systems of the parliament are not at all effective, which goes, moreover, for many other EU institutions.”

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