Green parties call for MPs to receive more 'sober' salaries

Green parties call for MPs to receive more 'sober' salaries
The Flemish Groen party taking oath at the Chamber of Representatives in 2019. Credit: Belga / Yorick Jansens

Both of Belgium's green parties (Groen and Ecolo) have called for a reduction to MP salaries, which they believe should not exceed 125% of their initial parliamentary allowance of €2,497.06 per month. 

The proposal was put forward by Kristof Calvo and Gilles Vanden Burre, parliamentary group leaders for Groen and Ecolo respectively. Their aim is to bring "sobriety" to the Chamber of Representatives after former MPs were found to have received unlawful bonuses on top of their pensions after leaving parliament.

A parliamentary hearing by the President of the Chamber of Representatives Eliane Tillieux found that these bonuses, which saw retired parliamentarians take home an additional €6,000 per month, did not comply with Belgian law. This led Tillieux to request that the Belgian Court of Audit conduct an external audit into parliamentary pensions.

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However, both green parties want the audit to consider pay for those still serving in the Federal Parliament and not only pensions.  Vanden Burre and Calvo explained that "We need to invest in politics and democracy but with better ethics and transparency." They see an audit as a means of examining the overall operation of the Federal Parliament.

Their proposal would pay particular attention to the allowances paid to MPs who hold special roles and functions. For instance, committee chairs or parliamentary presidents would only receive "modest" bonuses which would have to be justified by their workload.

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