The European Commission’s chief accountant, Brian Gray, has said he is
‘shocked’ by allegations about MEPs’ expenses.
The European parliamentarians were at the centre of a furious row in Brussels
this week over their expenses, after a leaked internal audit report suggested
that MEPs were abusing their system of allowances.
Gray said he was shocked by the suggestions of abuse. ‘Parliamentarians I
work for have a large staff, who do good reports. It’s shocking if [other] MEPs
are trying to profit from the regime. There are some parliamentarians who don’t
seem to have great moral belief,’ he said.
The comments illustrate the depth of feeling about the issue in Brussels,
where tales of fraud and poor controls over the spending of taxpayers’ cash are
Gray has faced criticism over the spending of the EC’s money, which is
broadly separate from the European parliament’s spending.
MEPs have been accused of giving lavish Christmas bonuses to staff, among
other alleged abuses. The report is ‘secret’ and details only emerged after Lib
Dem MEP Chris Davies saw a copy.
The problems are believed to have arisen as a result of the system whereby
salaries vary according to the origins of MEPs’ staff. The expenses arrangements
are used to bump up pay for those on the lower rungs of the ladder.
Gray said he believed the European Treaty, if ratified, would resolve the
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