Heidi Hautala on EU Court of Justice GEA-decision: now the ball is in the Parliament’s court

On the news that the European Court of Justice has upheld the European Parliament’s refusal to handover documents related to MEP’s travel and office expenses to a consortium of 28 investigative journalists, Heidi Hautala, Greens/EFA Vice-President comments:

“The fact that journalists even had to go to court over documents that should be public in the first place shows the urgent need for openness around MEPs’ expenses. We thank the journalists for their tireless efforts in trying to bring more transparency, but now the ball is in the Parliament’s court to bring about more accountability around expenses.

“The majority of MEPs agree on the need for more transparency around their own expenses, but the Bureau of the Parliament and President Tajani refuse to act. The rules need changing now, otherwise the miss-use of expenses will continue in the shadows. Secrecy around MEP’s expenses only damages the image of the European Parliament and emboldens euro-sceptics, which is why the Greens/EFA group will continue to fight for more transparency.”

The Greens/EFA are calling for MEPs to keep receipts of all spending, to return unspent money at the end of the mandate and to publish on an annual basis an overview of their expenditure.