|Author (Person)||Banks, Martin|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.11, No.30, 1.9.05|
By Martin Banks
A total of 47 MEPs out of 732 have failed to give permission for their declarations of financial interests to be published on the European Parliament's website.
Twenty-two are members of the centre-right EPP-ED group, seven are Socialists, seven are from the 35-strong Independence/Democracy group, six are non-attached, two are from the Group of European United Left (GUE) and two are from the Union for Europe of the Nations (UEN). There is one member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and none from the Greens.
Assessed by nationality, Italy and Poland lead the way, with ten Italians, out of a total of 77 Italian MEPs, and eight Poles, from a 53-strong national delegation.
All the assembly's 732 MEPs are obliged to declare their financial interests each year in a central register, which is open to the public in Brussels and Strasbourg.
But publication of the details on the Parliament's website (www.europarl.eu.int) is not automatic and a member can ask for his or her financial details not to be posted on the internet.
European Voice launched a campaign in June 2001, backing calls for every MEP to disclose their financial interests on the internet, for the sake of transparency and public confidence.
MEPs' financial interests were first published online in July 2001.
Campaigners say the online posting of financial interests is crucial to prevent potential conflicts of interest.
Dutch Socialist MEP Edith Mastenbroek, of the Campaign for Parliament Reform group, said: "It is worrying that so many MEPs are still refusing to publish their financial interests online, particularly at a time when the Parliament should be leading the way on issues of transparency.
"I do not know what their reasons are but we should be doing our utmost to improve public confidence in the EU and this is one way of doing that."
The 47 'refuseniks' include four deputies who hold official Parliamentary posts. Polish EPP-ED member Dariusz Grabowski, party colleagues James Nicholson, from the UK, and German Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl are quaestors. A fourth, Italian Lorenzo Cesa, is a vice-president of the EPP-ED group. Website publication is not a prerequisite for these posts.
In the central register, which is updated annually, Nicholson lists his financial interest as a part-ownership of a farm in the UK. The register lists Cesa as a company director and Quisthoudt-Rowohl as an unpaid university lecturer.
Nicholson said his failure to put his details online was an "oversight", adding: "I really was unaware that we could do this. I have no problem with it and will consider doing so."
Cesa said that he had now agreed to his details going online.
Grabowski said: "There is no special reason I've have not put my details online. As far as I am aware, we are not obliged to do so and I have simply chosen not to."
Quisthoudt-Rowohl said: "I want to stress that I do not receive an income from the university post and I simply decided not to put my details on the internet."
IT: Italy; UK: United Kingdom; FR: France; CZ: Czech Republic; BE: Belgium; PT: Portugal; PL: Poland; DE: Germany; SK: Slovakia; IR: Ireland; SI: Slovenia; CY: Cyprus; SV: Sweden.
Article reports that a total of 47 MEPs out of 732 had failed to give permission for their declarations of financial interests to be published on the European Parliament's website.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Countries / Regions||Europe|