Unfortunately, although there is a chance of Carry Over, this story which was scheduled for National Press was bumped by Farage’s intervention it seems!
The EU was thus saved from the embarrassment of a Double Page Spread in a Sunday Paper read by 7 Million Readers!
Author: Nikki Sinclaire MEP
27 February 2011 – Issue : 924
I recently agreed to collaborate with the British press on an exposé of the widespread abuse of MEPs allowances, in particular the daily subsistence allowance. As a result, numerous deputies from across the EU were caught out, signing in as early as 7:18am, and then leaving the building. The rules are quite clear: an MEP may claim his or her daily subsistence allowance when attending official meetings of parliamentary bodies. There are no such meetings in Strasbourg on the Friday of a plenary week, nor are there any at seven o’clock on a Friday morning in Brussels: on average, 60 – 70 MEPs sign in on a Friday for an allowance over and above their salaries that equates to £262 per day – more than many of their constituents earn in a week.
The amazing thing is that these exposés seem to be becoming a regular occurrence, and yet MEPs are not getting the message.
In 2005, Austrian MEP Hans Peter Martin who lifted the lid on the issue in 2004 when he filmed MEPs signing for their allowances at irregular hours subsequently stated that “These rules are the scandal that has to be changed – they were set up by the MEPs themselves”. Another senior MEP, who shares my concerns, during a discussion on the matter, recently told me with an ironic smile that “this is the Parliament that never knows cuts”.
I followed up the investigation by tabling a written declaration calling for an end to the practice of signing in on Fridays during plenary weeks. This initiative was quickly blocked on the instructions of the cabinet of the President’s office.
And so it seems that whilst citizens are reeling under the effects of the economic crisis, the parliament will close ranks and continue to shamelessly protect its perks.
Why have I chosen now to speak out about this problem? We are living through a historic moment, probably as important to all our futures as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Corrupt and undemocratic Arab regimes are falling like dominoes, and as I write this Libyan people are fighting and dying for their dreams of freedom and democracy, and for the futures of their children. These martyrs humble us, and deserve our admiration. A wave of euphoria is sweeping through North Africa, and the people are finally deposing the crooks and the tyrants. Just one year ago we could never have imagined the events that would unfold, and the message that the Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, and others who are fed up with the economic corruption of their political elites, are sending out should not be lost on the politicians to their North.
It is no secret that public disquiet with the EU is growing. In the UK, the majority of people actually want to abandon the project and leave the union, and the clamour for a referendum on the matter is growing by the day.
If we, as elected politicians, continue to see the public purse as a resource to be exploited whilst those who provide the money lose their jobs and their homes, what can we expect? The scenes in Greece recently, as citizens protested at austerity measures, were disturbing, and as the petrol bombs flew and the police batons came crashing down on the protesters, they were heartbreaking to see.
Society is a fragile thing, and as the Politburo learned in 1989, and as the dictators in North Africa are learning now, the people no longer have the need to endure corrupt regimes.
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