18 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Transport Minister Karla Peijs was back under the media spotlight on Tuesday as the European Parliament (EP) confirmed it wanted information on expenses claims she filed when she was a member of the parliament.
The European Parliament’s financial director, Roger van Haeren, said the EP would ask Peijs for an explanation about money she received for an assistant she shared with another member of the European Parliament. Peijs sat in the EP from 1989 to 2003.
Van Haeren stressed this was not an official investigation, but that his department wanted an explanation about an article in Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad last week. Peijs has agreed to contact Van Haeren and answer his questions.
The newspaper claimed Peijs shared the use of an administrative assistant with another Dutch MEP, but received full compensation of EUR 11,000 for the assistant’s wages.
Minister Peijs reacted quickly to the article and said she would repay the money.
But Labour PvdA MP Sharon Dijksma has asked why the minister waited until the newspaper article was published before arranging to repay the money. The minister replied that she is now in a position to deal with the repayment as she has received the required documentation from the social security department.
But Peijs also said she is deeply unhappy with the recent media focus on her.
On 13 May, current affairs television programme Zembla suggested that when Peijs was a European parliamentarian she got lobbyists to write parts of the amendments to laws she submitted.
It was also alleged that Peijs claimed travel expenses from the European Parliament even though she travelled around in a Mercedes she had the use of as a supervisory board member at car maker Daimler-Chrysler.
And in April, newspapers reported her husband, Rinus Platschorre — a former building industry executive — admitted he had been aware of a system of illegal secret agreements in the European building industry.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Karla Peijs