MEPs Farage, Soru and Alliot-Marie fail to declare how much they earn

26 July, 2017
Press Release

Today, Transparency International EU lodged a complaint with the European Parliament against three Members that appear to be in violation of ethics rules. The three MEPs – Nigel Farage, Renato Soru and Michele Aillot-Marie – all declare incomes from outside activities in excess of €10,000 per month and have failed to provide more details on their outside activities and incomes, in breach of the Parliament’s ethics rules.
“If we have no idea how much MEPs earn on the side and from where, how can we know that they’re voting in the interests of their constituents and not in their own interests?” asked Daniel Freund, Head of Advocacy EU Integrity at Transparency International EU. “The European Parliament must rectify the situation as quickly as possible and sanction the MEPs in line with the Code of Conduct if they are at fault,” continued Freund.
The Parliament’s ethics rules were changed in January, giving members six months to update their declarations with more details on outside activities and incomes. However, the three members have failed to meet the July 16th deadline to publish their incomes with “indication of the nearest €10,000 amount”.
The three MEPs are among a small group of seven members with outside earnings of over €10,000 per month. In total, the 751 MEPs currently declare 1,217 outside activities for a combined income between €4.7 and €12.9 million per year. Among these activities, MEPs currently declare 103 activities with organisations registered on the EU lobby register. Others declare generic activities such as “Freelancer” or “Consultant”.
The European Parliament’s ethics system is in urgent need of reform. We need effective checks and credible sanctions to ensure that MEPs provide accurate and useful information. Monitoring potential conflicts of interest is impossible under the current system. Indeed, even when MEPs break the Code of Conduct they are not sanctioned”, concluded Freund.
Transparency International EU monitors MEPs outside activities and provides the full information on EU Integrity Watch.
Transparency International EU’s recommendations:
– An independent ethics committee should monitor compliance and sanction MEPs in case of false declarations.
– Members need to provide more detailed, accurate and timely information on their activities and incomes to allow a meaningful monitoring of potential conflicts of interest,
– The financial bands on the declaration forms (e.g. ‘income between €1,001 and €5,000 per month‘) should be narrowed,
– The European Parliament should issue clearer guidelines on how to fill out the declarations and it should better monitor the submitted declarations,
– All declarations should be translated into at least the three main languages of the EU to allow citizens to better monitor their representatives,

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Tranparency International ethics complaint with the European Parliament

On the 24th of July 2017, Transparency International EU sent a letter to the European Parliament drawing the President Tajani’s attention to a potential violation of internal ethical rules by three Members. All declare incomes from outside activities in excess of 10,000 euros per month. The Parliament’s ethics rules had been changed in January, giving members six months to update their declaration and provide more details on their outside activities and incomes. The three members have failed to meet the 16 July deadline to publish their incomes with “indication of the nearest 10,000 EUR amount”. Full letter available below.

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Daniel Freund

Head of Advocacy EU Integrity (on leave)