What an embarrassment! European Parliament slammed for breaking EU’s own rules
Charles Michel hits out at 'extremist' parties in EU Parliament
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Internal documents show Parliament officials have ignored the bloc’s own banking laws by demanding some staffers open accounts in Belgium in order to get paid. Under a 2014 EU directive, private sector institutions and public bodies must deliver payments to euro-denominated bank accounts regardless of where they are located in the bloc. The rules are designed to ensure equal access for the finance sector across the Eurozone.
But it has emerged the Parliament is failing to meet those rules by forcing staffers working in Brussels to have a Belgium bank account to receive their salaries, according to the Politico website.
An internal document distributed to staff said: “Accredited parliamentary assistants must open a bank account at their place of employment.”
It added: “The payment of their salaries must be done at a bank locate din their place of employment.”
German Green MEP Sven Giegold wrote a letter to the European Commission to express his displeasure at the situation.
He said: “It is particularly embarrassing that a major institution ignores EU law and undermines the Union’s goal to develop a real banking union.
“The current requirements often creates practical difficulties for APAs when they move to Brussels to take up their duties, hindering their right of free movement.”
Parliamentary assistants – known as APAs – work for MEPs and most commonly come from the home country of the politician.
Each MEP is allowed to recruit a maximum of three accredited staffers, with some allowed as many as four.
The EU’s Single Euro Payments Area regulation is still frequently broken by public bodies.
This is often blamed on the processes that limit the choice of International Bank Account Numbers to ones with local prefixes.
Mr Giegold used his letter to highlight the widespread disregard for the rules.
He asked the Commission to provide a response specifically addressing the malpractices at the EU Parliament.
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Another MEP also wanted to draw attention to the breach of EU rules, sharing a document that confirms the unlawful rule.
The memo said: “APAs can only receive their remunerations into a bank account labelled in euros in the country where he/she carries out his duties.”
An EU Parliament spokeswoman refused to respond to questions relating to the institution’s breach of EU payment rules.
She added: “Indeed according to the existing Bureau decision on the sums due to the assistant are paid in euro in the country where the assistant carries out his duties.
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“The accredited parliamentary assistants need an account in they country where they carry out their duties.
“Please note this situation has been raised by some MEPs in the context of the budget discharge.”
That process is “currently ongoing”, the spokeswoman said.
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