MEPs have decided that nobody should know what they spend tax-payers money on

Most companies have rigid expense policies, based on staff handing in receipts before being paid.

Hotels, travel, possibly even the occasional glass of red with a meal if you’re away for work aren’t uncommon – but being allocated thousands to spend in addition to your salary is uncommon.

Read more: MEPs spend 40 million a year on hotels and wine 

But not for taxpayer-funded MEPs, who have voted to keep the details of their €4,400 a month expenses secret.

At a late, behind-closed doors meeting, the Parliament’s governing body voted down modest proposals to introduce some accountability into the way legislators can use the money. Currently MEPs do not have to retain any records or tell their constituents what the cash is spent on.

The proposals blocked by the 15-member bureau, which includes the Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani, would have required MEPs keep their GEA receipts, have these checked by an external auditor or even publish this information. They also rejected a proposed plan to have members pay back any unused funds to Parliament at the end of their term in office “at latest.”

A great victory for bars and hotels across the continent, a bad day for democracy.