Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union

Query

Can you provide an overview of oversight mechanisms of European parliamentary budgets, both in terms of control of the institutions’ expenditures and those of individual MPs, as well as regulations regarding staffing and parliamentary assistants in Europe?

Content

  1. Principles regarding the oversight of parliamentary budgets, expenditure and staffing
  2. Country examples
  3. References

Summary

Parliaments are exposed to a wide variety of corruption risks, unethical conduct and abuse by their members, as reflected by recent scandals involving fictitious employment, misuse of allowances and expenses, embezzlement, conflicts of interest or fiscal fraud. In line with the principle of separation of powers, ethical regulation of parliaments is usually implemented through self-regulation or semi-external regulation, involving an independent commissioner working together with a parliamentary committee instead of being controlled by another body.

There is relatively limited literature available on transparency and oversight of parliamentary budgets, expenditures and members. Based on case studies from the UK, USA, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany and the European Parliament, this Helpdesk answer provides examples of how European parliaments regulate and control their budgets, and the budget and expenditure of individual MPs.

Authors

Sofia Wickberg, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

17/03/2017

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