MEPs earn millions on the side, raising questions of transparency

by Kieran Guilbert | KieranG77 | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 13 October 2014 14:49 GMT

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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New database shows 398 MEPs earn between 5.8 million and 18 million euros per year from outside activities

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than half of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have business activities on the side, earning them up to 18 million euros ($23 million) each year on top of their salaries, according to a new database launched on Monday.

Transparency International's Integrity Watch database provides an overview of MEPs' outside activities and revenues, raising questions of conflicts of interest, said Carl Dolan, director of Transparency International EU.

"If it wants to restore trust in Brussels decision-making, the Parliament must do more than just pay lip-service to transparency, and put in place some meaningful checks and balances," Dolan said in a statement.

The database shows that 398 MEPs earn between 5.8 million euros ($7.4 million) and 18 million euros ($23 million) per year from outside activities. A total of 175 MEPs earn at least 500 euros per month in side jobs and 12 earn more than 10,000 euros each month.

Dolan said the way MEPs declare outside activities, using obscure abbreviations and terms such as "consultant" and "freelancer" made it impossible to assess conflicts of interest.

Daniel Freund, policy officer at Transparency International EU, said the European Parliament administration should improve checks on declarations for errors and impose sanctions for false declarations.

Transparency International is a non-governmental organisation that monitors and publicises corporate and political corruption in international development.

($1 = 0.7885 euros)

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert; Editing by Ros Russell)

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