MEP’s privacy wins the day

An EU court has rejected calls for greater transparency about MEPs’ expenses, as it upheld a decision that politicians are not required to reveal how they spend public money intended for their offices.

In a blow to transparency campaigners, the Luxembourg-based general court upheld the decision of the European parliament that MEPs do not have to provide invoices and receipts for their constituency office costs, or provide the public with details of travel expenses.

It concluded that an obligation to publish spending records would undermine MEPs’ privacy, concluding that campaigners had failed to prove publishing information was “appropriate and proportional”.

Transparency International’s Brussels office said it was “hugely disappointing” that the ruling allows the European parliament to “keep details of MEP expenses secret and hidden from journalists, civil society and citizens”.

Members of the European parliament are paid €8,611.31 (£7,705) a month in gross salary, plus pension. On leaving the parliament they receive a golden parachute, a transition allowance worth up to €206,664, depending on length of service.