EU Commission flying away on taxpayer funds must stop!
The EU Commission has an uncanny knack for being able to locate a speck in the eyes of others, without removing the plank from their own. And, this is particularly true where "transparency" in accounting is concerned.
In fact, the EU Commission has issued several directives aimed at standardising financial reporting practices around the EU. Typically, these directives are initiated to ensure that businesses can either control pricing, and, or so that businesses cannot evade paying taxes to the EU or to the member state in which they are located.
In other words, the Commission wants businesses in the EU to produce a balance sheet, showing Revenue, Expenses, etc., so that all appropriate taxes can be collected.
But, ironically, year-after-year, the EU Commission has failed to live up to the high standards which it applies to others.
Recently, Spanish NGO 'Access Info' and the Belgian magazine Knack revealed some of the findings which were the fruit a time-consuming and tedious process which they entered into, to extract information from the EU Commission about its travel expenses - through repeated Freedom of Information requests.
This doesn't sound like a very transparent process!
But, what were the result of their labour?
Among other things, they discovered that the EU Commission President, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, spent €25,000 of taxpayer funds on a flight to Rome between January and February of 2016. And, in the same time period, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Ms Federica Mogherini, spent €75,000 on a trip to Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In total, the 28 Commissioners spent €500,000 in the first two months of 2016 -- meaning that a full 5% of the total travel expenditure in that period was allocated for that single flight to Rome for Mr Juncker. And, together, Juncker's flight and Mogherini's trip made up one-fifth of the entire travel expenditure for those two months.
In the case of the flight to Rome, according to a Commission spokesman, there were allegedly no commercial flights which fit Juncker's schedule...But, a quick search on Kayak.com, produces 340 variations of flights from Brussels to Rome, most of which cost less than €400, RETURN.
And, whereas Armenia and Azerbaijan are certainly further afield than Rome, most travellers on a budget could probably achieve the same results as Mogherini's entourage on half her budget, or less -- and still live very comfortably and safely.
This kind of waste of taxpayer Euro must end.
And, moreover, the taxpayers of Europe demand transparency where EU Commission spending is concerned.
Simply put: normal people do not charter flights, spending other people's money, for €25,000; neither must the Commissioners!
The head of Access Info Europe, Helen Darbishire, told the Telegraph newspaper, that, the difficulties which Access encountered in getting the details of these expenses, had been, "kafkaesque", including "a pattern of resistance and obstruction".
This is also wrong, and, it demands redress.
Therefore, this petition asks two things: 1) That the EU Commission's own Internal Audit Service carefully reviews present and past travel expenses (going back at least 5 years), and make public suggestions as to how the use of air-taxis (and, other extravagant expenditure) can be eliminated altogether; AND, 2) That the EU's Ombudsman, Ms O'Reilly, is empowered to ensure that such reform of Commission travel expenditure is actually initiated, that the recommendations are made public, and that they are fully implemented.
Thank you for signing!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
One example the EU's "transparency" directives - http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1349_en.htm
Sign this petition now!
EC Must Stop Using Air-Taxis...Publish Travel Accounts...Immediately!