National embly: the deputies returned 10 million euros in advance on their mandate expenses
Would the members of the Palais-Bourbon be more economical? More than 10 million euros in mandate costs that were not spent by outgoing deputies were returned to the treasury of…
Would the members of the Palais-Bourbon be more economical? More than 10 million euros in mandate costs that were not spent by outgoing deputies were returned to the treasury of the National embly in 2022, the former ethics officer of the institution said on Wednesday. For their mandate expenses (rental of a permanence, travel, accommodation, etc.), MEPs have an advance each month of 5,561 euros currently, and these expenses have been controlled since 2018.
This advance, which is added to the remuneration of elected officials, replaced the controversial IRFM, an envelope whose use was not verified and which gave rise to excesses, from the purchase of televisions to the payment of holidays for example . The restitution – mandatory but uncontrolled – of the remainder of IRFM by the deputies of the previous legislature (2012-2017) had reached an amount of around 3 million euros, notes the former ethics officer Christophe Pallez in his annual report , albeit calling for “caution” in the interpretation of these figures.
The current advance is “properly sized”, estimates this independent authority, noting that if a deputy has donated 248,818 euros, a hundred have declared a negative balance, which it is up to them to finance from their personal funds. And other repayments are expected, files not being finalized. On average, the refund, for a total amount of 10,598,849 euros, corresponds to approximately three months in advance of mandate expenses per elected official.
Gifts offered to the embly by MNAs
“The deputies have, in their vast majority, respected the letter and the spirit of the reform of the fees of mandate”, notes the former ethics officer, who gave up his post to Jean-Éric Gicquel last January. A deputy whose name is not revealed, and whose expense accounts were to be checked, did not, after having resigned before June 2022, “provide any document allowing his file to be examined”, deplores however Christophe Pallez.
He also suggests revising downwards, from 150 to 100 euros per week, the authorized amount of expenses without supporting documents. Overall, the former ethics officer welcomes a “rooting of the ethical culture among deputies”, whom he also advises on conflicts of interest.
It is with him that must be declared the gifts, invitations and trips offered to MEPs, when their estimated value is greater than 150 euros. However, some had deposited with the ethics officer since 2017 gifts of significant value, which they finally donated to the embly. “A sale of watches and jewelry constituting the bulk of this stock produced, in July 2022, a result of 56,000 euros”, reports Mr. Pallez.