You might think that in the era of Brexit, and of other rising European Union exit movements, that the EU would be doing all it can to earn voters trust. That rather than expanding their own autocratic power, EU officers would focus on that area where they have the most potential to make the most lives better: the economy.
You’d be wrong. Instead, the EU’s elite are refueling voter beliefs that the European project is no longer rooted in democratic prosperity, but rather in arrogant authoritarianism.
Last week we got the European Commission president’s pledge to further rid nation-states of their sovereignty. This week, the EU has a new insult to European voters. Namely, the EU’s continuing refusal to show how members of the EU parliament spend their office allowances. The EUobserver made the appeal for that information, but was met with an EU parliament vice president who says that the information’s publication would "seriously undermine the protection of parliament’s decision-making process."
On what planet is that an adequate democratic response?
On the EU planet, of course. What’s going on here is actually very simple: EU parliamentarians know that if voters were allowed to see how they’re spending their office expenses, they would be outraged. We’re not talking about small sums here. The EUObserver notes that all 751 members of the European Parliament are entitled a monthly $5,153 allowance for office expense, and that money does not include staffing costs and other administrative outlays. The EUObserver also notes that MEPs need neither pay back any unspent sums from their office allowance nor provide purchase receipts. But where this would be a cause for major uproar in any other democratic body, it’s business as usual at the EU — a business of taking the European citizenry for a ride.
The EU elite don’t care that they’re collectively blowing up to $3,869,900 a month on unaccountable purchases, only that those expenditures remain unaccountable.
Ultimately, this is just another reminder as to why the EU faces a rising tide of skepticism and associated separatism. After all, such arrogant disdain for the most basic principles of transparent government aren’t exactly recipes for public respect.