Paid luxury hotels: Many MEPs suck at transparency

Paid Luxury Hotels Many MEPs suck at transparency
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When it comes to transparency, many MEPs don’t take it too seriously. (symbol image) Photo: dpa/Britta Pedersen

MEPs make good money. But that doesn’t stop many from having hotels, flights or other things donated to them when they travel. Internal rules require them to disclose this– actually.


20.022023 – 20:26

Overnight stays in luxury hotels, intercontinental flights, Admission to football matches: German MEPs have some things paid for by third parties on their travels. Numerous politicians violate their disclosure obligations, as an evaluation by the German Press Agency shows. However, several also declare on time. In the course of the corruption scandal surrounding the EU Parliament, such – permissible – courtesies have increasingly come into focus.

The dpa has asked all MEPs of the parties represented in the Bundestag whether they are paying for trips, events and gifts from third parties in the current legislature correctly disclosed according to Parliament’s internal rules.

How transparent the deputies should actually be

According to parliamentary rules, deputies must Report travel and gifts paid for by third parties that they receive in certain functions by the end of the following month at the latest and publish them in a public register. However, there are various exceptions, some of which the parliamentarians themselves do not fully understand. An example: Several MEPs announced that they are currently having Parliament examine whether vehicles provided by local authorities for safety reasons are subject to the obligation to register when traveling to Ukraine. What MPs charge themselves

The list is long: According to the documents, Katarina Barley, one of the Vice Presidents of the EU Parliament, spent a night in the Frankfurt luxury hotel Villa Kennedy in November 2021 get paid when she was at a press ball. A few months earlier, the SPD politician had received payment for an overnight stay in the five-star Le Méridien hotel in Hamburg from the Strasburger Kreise organization. According to the organization’s website, she gave the 72 invited guests a relentless look at the European Union in her speech. She was also at a 1. FC Köln game in October 2021 without having to pay admission. In response to questions about the voyages, Barley said: “I have registered a total of 13 voyages – regardless of whether they are reportable or not.”

MEPs also report trips correctly

About the trips there are public documents on the website of the Parliament For Lena Düpont from the CDU, among other things, three nights in the Imperial hotel New Delhi as part of the “Indo -German Women’s Leadership Initiative”. The hotel describes itself as the best five star hotel in the financial center of New Delhi. She also spent three nights at the Royal Beach hotel in Tel Aviv, paid for by an organization that wants to promote German-Israeli relations.

Your party friend Andreas Schwab also had two nights paid for in this hotel, but also a business deal -class flight to New York. He said all trips were closely related to information needs for specific legislative projects. Bernhard Zimniok from the AfD spent two nights in October 2019 at a luxury hotel in India. The trips from Düpont, Schwab and Zimniok have been reported correctly and entered on the Parliament website.

The Greens politician Reinhard Bütikofer disclosed most of the trips that were paid for at least in part by third parties – all of them on time, mostly already after a few days. The documents for the more than 20 trips show that the Australian government paid for five flights – all business class – and seven nights in hotels, among other things. According to the information, the background is an “individual special visitors program” for Bütikofer. As can be seen from further information from the MP, he had meetings there almost every day – for example with university, government and business representatives.

More than one in ten MEPs does not answer questions

Pass away dpa asked a total of 85 MPs, 74 answered on time – which corresponds to almost 90 percent with five parliamentarians each, the smallest German delegations from the FDP and Die Linke responded in full. The 16 SPD MPs also responded unanimously to the questions asked. From the Greens, there was no timely response from 2 of the 21 MPs – one MP spoke up The response from the Union was initially lower: Out of 29 elected representatives, 4 did not answer the questions for the time being, and one responded arrived late.

After the research was published on Monday, the other Union politicians also responded to the request. They had all made no trips that would have to be disclosed, it said. They also did not receive any reportable gifts. Proportionately, the politicians of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) did not answer most often – here it was four out of nine.

How much is sloppy

Of the more than 30 MPs who disclosed trips or gifts, only 11 certainly met all deadlines. With around 20 passes away was not the case. In addition, 14 only disclosed trips or gifts after the dpa request, which could have been declared beforehand. There are no major differences between the parties here. Both Social Democrats, Union politicians Greens and Liberals are there. Only left and AfD do not stand out. When MPs comment on their mistakes, it is stated that they missed deadlines by mistake or ignorance.

Criticism from anti-corruption organization “The MEPs don’t take the declarations seriously,” criticizes Raphael Kergueno from the organization Transparency International. It is not surprising that many declarations come too late. “There is a culture of impunity,” said Kergueno . What the MPs now expect Probably not much. Because the President of Parliament decides on penalties. Recently, Roberta Metsola herself came under criticism – she had also reported too late a night in a French luxury hotel paid for by a wine brotherhood for her and her husband. So far there has been no talk of sanctions for this.


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