SP challenges Euro-MPs to show their colours over expense payments

10 September 2013

SP challenges Euro-MPs to show their colours over expense payments

June saw an almighty row following recordings made by Dutch video company geenstijl.tv in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Many people were quite rightly angry about wastefulness in the European Parliament. SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong promised to present new proposals aimed at substantially reducing these reimbursements, which in line with SP policy he does not accept beyond genuine out-of-pocket expenses.’I’m now proposing that the general expenses reimbursement for MEPs be halved,’ he says, making good on his commitment at the earliest opportunity. ‘As long as Members don’t have to present proof of what they have spent their current total general expense payments of more than €4,200 per month on, it can’t be ruled out that they are simply pocketing some of it. Halving the payment would limit the damage and leave enough money for genuine costs.’ From his own general expense payments, De Jong deducts his real spending and returns an annual €30,000 to the Parliament.

In addition to cutting expense payments, De Jong is proposing a 7% reduction in MEPs’ salaries, to match the solidarity levy imposed on EU officials. ‘The officials discontinued their protests against the levy because they understand that we are in a crisis. Now it’s the Members’ turn. By voting for this proposal they too can show their colours.’ Currently Euro-MPs receive a gross salary of €8,000 per month.

Other sections of the budget also formed the subject of the SP proposals, with De Jong demanding an end to subsidies paid to the Parliament’s own TV channel EP-TV and to its ‘information point’ in The Hague, ‘Het Huis van Europe’ (The House of Europe), as well as reductions in agricultural subsidies. Finally, he proposes that the subsidy paid to European Political Parties be frozen at its current level.

The proposals will initially be voted on in the European Parliament’s Budget Committee, going to a plenary session later in the same month.

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