The Belgian, Guy Verhofstadt, features amongst the top three MEPs who have declared exercising a peripheral activity. The details are reported on Tuesday in Le Soir, based upon a study by Transparency International EU (which leads the fight against corruption in EU member states). During the previous European Parliament legislature he earned between €920,000 and €1.42 million, in addition to the €13,000 gross monthly salary which he earned and continues to earn at the European Parliament.
Around one-third (31%) of MEPs state that they exercise a lucrative peripheral activity. Of Belgian MEPs, some 62% supplement their incomes in this way. Le Soir has found that there is nothing to prohibit this practice to the extent that MEPs declare the supplementary income, except that no penalties are applied if the additional income is not declared.
Transparency International EU says that there is a risk of conflicts of interest. For example, four elected representatives continue to earn money from companies listed on the European Union official lobbyist register.
The number one and two in receipt of “supplementary incomes” in the European Parliament are the Italian MEP, Ranato Soru, who supplements his income as a director of the Tiscali group, and the Lithuanian, Antanas Guoga, whose supplementary activity is listed as poker player.
Guy Verhofstadt is a director of Sofina and Theodorus III, the fund of the Free University of Brussels, dedicated to spin-off and start-up companies. A proportion of Verhofstadt’s income also comes from his public speaking.