Congressional spending on international travel is rising

Congressional spending on international travel is rising
Congress session. Photo: Europe Press

he Congress Spend More than €3 million in international activities by 2023approximately one 10% increase over the previous year. Only in those related to the parliamentary dimension of the Spanish EU Presidency, which took place during the second semester, 1.38 million euros were invested.

According to the data I reviewed European pressthe Chamber acquired a total of 144 international activities on which more than 3,008,672.74 euros were spent, an amount to which must be added the cost of two weeks that has not yet been invoiced.

This represents an increase of 9.7% compared to 2022 figures, when spending on international activities rose to €2,741,319.91.

In 2023, the most expensive events related to the so-called parliamentary dimension of the EU Presidency were held by Spain from June 1 to December 31 and in which it invested $1.38 million.

The most expensive, economics committee

Unlike previous years in which the most expensive trips coincided with those of the Spanish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, this time the list is topped by a €133,192.78 trip made by the Spanish delegation to the members of the Economic Council in Washington (USA). The Authority participates in the Global Parliamentary Forum organized by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

In addition, €127,013.78 was spent on the 18th edition of the training course for parliamentary advisors from the Latin American, North African and European Union associations, which took place over eleven days between Madrid and Zaragoza.

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Then there are the trips of members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which meets four times a year in Strasbourg (France). It is one of the most numerous representations of the courts, which also includes senators. Over €239,230.98 was invested in travel to and from these appointments alone. However, it is about 20,000 lower than the previous year.

In addition, the list includes €90,424.54 from the meeting held by the Committee of Political and Democratic Affairs in Seville in May.

NATO Assembly

Also noteworthy are the numerous trips made by the Spanish representatives to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, such as the five-day trip they made in three cities in Canada to attend the joint meeting of the Subcommittee on Transatlantic Cooperation in Defense and Security and the Subcommittee on Transatlantic Relations From this body, which rose to 65,841.13 euros.

Likewise, €49,260.56 was paid to attend the spring session of the association in Luxembourg, which lasted two days; An additional €52,000 goes to the 69th annual session of this body in Copenhagen (Denmark), from 6 to 9 October, and another €32,024 goes to the meeting of the Subcommittee on Transatlantic Economic Relations and the Subcommittee on Associated Members of NATO. (NATO Political Committee) in Canberra and Sydney (Australia), for 5 days in November.

A total of €81,633.53 was invested in the trip of the Spanish delegation to the IPU Assembly to attend the General Meeting in Islamabad (Pakistan).

These total figures include only travel and accommodation expenses in various destinations, and not expenses of parliamentarians during their stay outside the country. Until 2017, participants in these trips received a daily allowance of 150 euros, but Congress replaced the amount with a duly justified expenses allowance system.

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