Documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos
Dear European Parliament,
Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, we are requesting the following documents:
Any and all documents regarding or related to the allowances granted to Ioannis Lagos by the European Parliament from 7 October 2020 to date. We are interested in particular in:
- Travel expenses, including for travel, accommodation and related expenses;
- Daily allowance (or “subsistence allowance”);
- General expenditure allowance, as well as reimbursements of professional training costs for language and IT costs; and
- Expenses related to salaries, relating to accredited as well as local parliamentary assistants
This includes, but is not limited to:
- all applications, receipts, expenses forms, tickets, odometer readings, invoices and/or bills submitted by Ioannis Lagos in relation to the Allowances;
- all documents related to or regarding the reimbursement of the Allowances; and
- all correspondence with Ioannis Lagos’ office, including internal correspondence, as well as correspondence with third parties regarding the Allowances, and correspondence with the Parliament’s administration services.
In this regard, we would like to argue that there is an undeniable public interest in the disclosure of the requested documents.
Public scrutiny and accountability of the expenses of any publicly-elected Member of the European Parliament (“MEP”) is a fundamental standard of a democratic society. The European Ombudsman has explicitly acknowledged that transparency in public expenditure may increase trust in the EU institutions and it is natural for the public to have an interest in how public funds are used .
This case is of particular gravity because Ioannis Lagos has been convicted for serious crimes in Greece (membership and leadership of a criminal organisation) and sentenced to imprisonment of 13 years and 8 months.
Even after having been convicted as a criminal, Ioannis Lagos continued to receive Allowances from the European Parliament, including travel allowances.  These Allowances were ultimately funded by EU citizens through their taxes. Notably, Ioannis Lagos had even stated to the press that, in the case his immunity would be waived by the Parliament, he was “planning to flee to a ‘European country’ where his rights would be protected”.  The situation therefore concerns a convicted criminal who, while receiving Allowances from the European Parliament, publicly admitted that he would attempt to escape the law.
While the European Parliament publishes some information on MEPs’ salaries and pensions  and a summary of allowances , there is no information on the concrete amount which Ioannis Lagos received during his term up until now. There is also no information available as to the Allowances Ioannis Lagos received during the immunity waiver process before the European Parliament, if any.
In this context, it is essential for the public to be able to scrutinise Ioannis Lagos’ expenses, especially since the first judgement issued in Greece declaring Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation on 7 October 2020. This information would shed light into how the Allowances paid by the European Parliament to Ioannis Lagos were used. It would help citizens understand whether these Allowances contributed, directly or indirectly, to funding or perpetuating criminal or otherwise illegal activity conducted by Ioannis Lagos, or evading compliance with an EU Member State court ruling.
The information would also contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of the European Parliament’s rules concerning the immunity waiver process, the rights and obligations MEPs have during that process and how public funds may be used in this context in a similar process in the future. Overall, access to the requested information would increase transparency into how tax payers’ money is spent.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts or questions in regards to this request.
Thank you in advance.
<< Adresse entfernt >>, Arne Semsrott and Stefan Wehrmeyer
 See Decision in case 221/2021/DL on the European Commission's refusal to give public access to documents concerning travel expenses related to an official trip by a staff member of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), par. 14; and Decision in case 1/2020/MIG on the European Economic and Social Committee's refusal of public access to documents concerning travel expenses related to an official trip to China, par. 13.
 See European Parliament’s website on salaries and pensions: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/…
 See European Parliament’s website on allowances: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/…
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