French MPs collectively earn nearly €20 million a year from outside jobs and mandates, revealing an urgent need for tighter rules to prevent conflicts of interest related to their lives outside Parliament, Transparency International EU and Transparency International France said today.
A new searchable, interactive database: www.integritywatch.fr shows the income declarations of all 925 members of the French Senate and Assemblée Nationale, made public under recent legislation. On average they earn €21,400 per year from a total of almost 2,000 outside activities.
“The amount some MPs earn from outside work raises questions on who they are really working for and if there might be potential conflicts of interest with decisions they take in Parliament,” says Myriam Savy from Transparency International France.
Key findings Integrity Watch France:
- 618 or 67% of MPs have outside activities
- 925 MPs are engaged in 1,987 external activities or additional mandates
- 71 have more than five outside activities, six even more than 20 and one declares 71 different outside activities
- 925 MPs earn €19,831,692 per year combined on top of their salaries as parliamentarians
- 242 of them earn more than the average income in France (€26,160), 18 earn more than €100,000 and Olivier Dassault (Les Republicans) tops the ranking with €3,488,703 per year.
French system of income declarations should inspire EU reforms
The information declared by French parliamentarians shows that, despite room for further improvements, recent reforms have started to yield results.
According to Daniel Freund, Transparency International EU, “the ethics regime put in place in France over the last few years should serve as an example for reforms at the EU level and in other European countries. In comparison, the EU ethic bodies lack both independence and teeth”.
At the European Parliament (EP), for example, outside income and activities are declared to the Parliament administration, which has little to no possibilities to monitor the accuracy of declarations. “The EP’s Advisory Committee on the Code of Conduct lacks political independence and has never sanctioned a single case,” continues Freund.
Notes to editors:
First launched in October 2014, EU Integrity Watch (www.integritywatch.eu) is Transparency International EU’s central hub for online tools aimed at making the EU institutions more transparent.
The website currently contains two sets of data: (1) information on the members of the European Parliament (MEPs), their outside activities and incomes, and (2) data on lobbying in Brussels, combining the records of lobby meetings at the European Commission with the information contained in the EU Transparency Register.
Transparency International is currently rolling out the tool in different national versions across Europe, with Integrity Watch France being the first national version that has been launched.
Integrity Watch France is designed to monitor and rank outside activities and incomes of French parliamentarians and allow the public to spot potential conflicts of interest.
The information declared by parliamentarians and published by the French High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP) in 925 scanned documents has been extracted by 20 volunteers. The HATVP is an independent agency entrusted with far-reaching investigative powers to monitor outside incomes and activities of public officials.
The press release of TI France in French is available here.