Watchdogs are alarmed by MEPs’ large side job earnings.
According to a Transparency International EU research, more than 25% of members of the European Parliament have declared outside revenues from side jobs that could cause conflicts of interest.
According to new data, European Parliament members claimed income ranging from €3.9 million (£3.31 million) to €11.5 million (9.76 million) in addition to their MEP pay. MEPs are permitted to earn outside income, but they must disclose it in publicly accessible financial disclosures.
The large numbers have disturbed watchdog groups because the data offered is frequently ambiguous, raising doubts about the nature of MEPs’ side jobs and if there may be an ethical conflict.
“We identified significant outside income and worryingly unclear financial statements,” said Vitor Teixeira, a senior policy officer at Transparency International EU.
Radosaw Sikorski, a member of the European People’s Party and a member of the European Parliament, is listed as the member with the highest outside earnings, however he has disputed the assertions.
What’s going on in your neighborhood? Add your postcode or go to InYourArea.com to find out. He contested the data in the report and said the NGO’s findings were incorrect.
“The disclosure of financial interests to the European Parliament includes various listings that have been made twice in order to satisfy reporting obligations,” the Polish member stated in a statement.
He assured that his side income was “far smaller” than disclosed, and that he “will alter the disclosure to make this clearer,” referring to separate income declarations filed with the Polish parliamentary administration.
“We need an independent EU Ethics body to monitor any conflicts of interest of all policy-makers,” Teixeira said, describing the results as “another ethics disaster waiting to happen.”
The European Parliament and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have both expressed support for the creation of such a body.
According to the analysis, at least 23 parliamentarians have boosted their income since taking office, and up to 39 could earn more than €100,000 (£84,888) each year from side jobs.
The figures may be substantially larger, given that MEPs self-declare their profits, which are not subject to institutional inspections.
The research emphasizes that the existing system has difficulties in preventing conflicts of interest when it comes to outside activities.
“It cannot be ruled out that some MEPs’ holdings or activity in external organizations may have an impact on their voting,” the report states. “Brinkwire Summary News.”