17th of May
40 million a year is spent on the ‘General Expenditure Allowance’ of the European Parliament. 48 Journalists from all over Europe worked together to publish articles on this expense in their countries at the same time.
The allowance that parliamentarians receive can not be considered income, but functions as an expense allowance for office expenditure. But how many paperclips can you buy with 4300E per month, each month, every month. The saddest thing of this ‘free money’ is that no Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has to account for how the money is spent: Somehow, most of the 751 MEPs spent the entire amount, to the dime, every month.
This allowance should only be given with proof of purchase: when the costs are actually being made. This can then be later checked by an accountant at the end of every year. In addition to this, clear rules should clarify on what the allowance may be spent – obviously renting an office in your own home from yourself is not a good practice. Last, but definitely not least; money that is not spent should be returned to the Parliament budget – after all, it’s the Taxpayers’ money!