234 bottles of champagne? Right-wing MEPs asked to explain expenses

234 bottles of champagne? Right-wing MEPs asked to explain expenses
By Emma Beswick
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A right-wing group in the European Parliament has been told to justify excessive spending totalling €427,000 in 2016


A right-wing group in the European Parliament, comprising of just 36 MEPs, is said to have expensed luxury items including €400-a-head meals and expensive gifts for employees.

The Europe of Nations and Freedom Group (ENF) was on Monday asked by the European Parliament's bureau, led by president Antonio Tajani, to file comments on allegations concerning spending involving €427,000 of EU funds in 2016, according to Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The German daily said the group's expenses report was criticised both by external auditors and the parliament's budgetary control committee.

Both parties claimed the organisation's smallest group had billed 234 bottles of champagne — including some for €81 — as well as gourmet €400-per-head meals.

The ENF is made up of members of the French National Front (FN), the FPÖ in Austria, the Italian Northern League, Geert Wilders's Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) and German politician Marcus Pretzell from The Blue Party.

It was also criticized for many missing documents and not meeting the rules for public tenders.

This is the group's "last chance" to comment on allegations, said a spokeswoman for the EU parliament.

If the claims were not disproved, parliament will deduct the sum from future payments, she added.

Co-chair of the ENF Group, Nicolas Bay, rejected the allegations. The FN politician said his group did not "deliberately disrespect" regulations and that the problem lay in the "interpretation of rules for public tenders", reported Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

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