Three more MEPs decide to come clean

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Series Details Vol.7, No.36, 4.10.01, p3
Publication Date 04/10/2001
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Date: 04/10/01

By Martin Banks

THE financial interests of three more MEPs have been posted on the internet - but 36 members are still refusing to come clean.

The declarations, by Germany's Gabrielle Stauner and Karin Jöns and Independent Wolfgang Ilgenfritz of Austria, have now been posted on their personal Parliamentary websites.

Socialist Jöns admitted she had finally decided to register her details online because it would have been counterproductive not to do so.

She said: "I have nothing to hide. Initially, I had reservations about the need for an online register, but when I realised the majority of MEPs had declared I decided to do the same. I now think all members should do so in the interests of transparency."

Centre-right MEP Stauner explained why she too had changed her mind after previously saying she thought it was "ridiculous" that deputies' interests should be put on the internet. "I had thought the central register we've had for years was perfectly adequate but now I don't have any problems with putting my details online," she said. "It is a personal decision and members who haven't yet registered online must decide for themselves."

Her details merely reveal that she earned less than €511 from lecturing in law at Regensburg University and acting as an examiner in Munich. European Voice has been at the forefront of a campaign demanding more transparency from MEPs. Parliamentary administrators say "legal problems" mean they may only put up the details of members who have given their permission. Socialist MEP Freddy Blak, a member of the influential budgetary control committee, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Commission secrecy, is among those still refusing to divulge his financial interests on the website.

The 57-year-old Dane said: "I have no intention of putting my details online. MEPs have a right to a bit of privacy and I do not want the whole world knowing about my personal life. The internet is also open to abuse and that concerns me. The only thing I have to declare is a pension from my union and if anyone wants to know anything about me they can call me or look on the register."

Other well-known figures missing from the online register is one of the European Parliament's vice-presidents, Guido Podestà. He said he "couldn't understand" why his details were still absent as he had authorised them to be posted as long ago as July.

Financial declarations by MEPs were posted online for the first time in July. They are not, however, immediately visible: the document detailing interests has to be downloaded first. Previously, the public had only been able to view the declarations by consulting a central register - not available online - in Brussels or Strasbourg.

Reformers say the posting of financial interests is crucial for public confidence and to ensure that MEPs do not have a conflict of interest. All MEPs in the Green and Liberal groups have their details posted.

Germany has the largest number of members whose declarations have not been published with ten. Italy, whose MEPs are the highest paid, earning €10,643 per month, has seven 'refuseniks', while Austria also scores disproportionately high with eight. Its members receive €8,042 a month, compared to the Germans at 6,707 euro. France, whose MEPs receive €6,569 per month, has six refusing to register their interests online.

MEPs are paid the same as their national counterparts. The rest of the monthly pay league table reads: UK, €7,101; the Netherlands, €6,171; Belgium, €5,718; Denmark, €5,446; Greece, €5,367; Luxembourg, €4,685; Finland, €4,541; Ireland, €4,024; Portugal, €3,157 and Spain, 2,467 euro.

  • MEPs who want to inform the Parliamentary website about their interests at can also register them with European Voice by fax on 32/2 540 9071 or by email via
  • THE 36 MEPs refusing to register their interests online are: EPP-EDD group - Michl Ebner (I), Werner Langen (D), Peter Michael Mombaur (D), Hartmut Nassauer (D), Doris Pack (D), Guido Podestà (I), Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl (D), Ursula Stenzel (A), Ioannis Averoff (GR), Marialiese Flemming (A), Brice Hortefeux (F), Christa Klass (D), Karsten Knolle (D), Christoph Werner Konrad (D), Kurt Lechner (D), Francesco Musotto (I), Hubert Pirker (A), Reinhard Rack (A), Paul Rübig (A) Agnes Schierhuber (A). Socialists - Freddy Blak (DK), Elisa Maria Damião (P), Karin Junker (D), Christa Prets (A), Gilles Savary (F), Sérgio Sousa Pinto (P). European United Left/Nordic Green Left - Pedro Marset Campos (E). Union for Europe of the Nations - Cristiana Muscardini (I), Jean-Charles Marchiani (F), Mariotto Segni (I), Francesco Turchi (I).

Europe of Democracies and Diversities - Véronique Mathieu (F), Jean-Louis Bernié (F).Independents/non-attached - Gian Paolo Gobbo (I), Carl Lang (F), Hans Kronberger (A) List compiled on 3 October.

The financial interests of three more MEPs have been posted on the internet - but 36 members are still refusing to come clean.

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