A European Parliament pension fund has also bought shares in tobacco and mining companies, EUobserver reports
A heavily indebted pension fund serving the European Parliament has used taxpayers’ money to buy shares in several arms, tobacco, mining and fossil fuel companies, EUobserver reported Tuesday.
The news outlet claims to have obtained it “a detailed breakdown” of the fund’s investments between 1994 and 2010. According to the documents, MEPs owned tens of thousands of shares in several arms manufacturers known for producing cluster munitions, which have been banned by the EU since 2008.
Those companies included the American giants Raytheon, Honeywell International and Textron, all of which were known to produce deadly weapons that would endanger civilians.
All three firms claim to have ceased production of cluster munitions in recent years. In addition, it is unclear whether the fund still holds shares in any of them, as no recent investment information has been made public.
What is widely known, however, is that the pension scheme has left money bleeding, with some fearing that the European Parliament will eventually use up to EUR 400 million of taxpayers’ money to bail it out. Experts say the fund is expected to fail within the next three years as it continues to experience a sharp deficit due to the rapid increase in the number of MEPs reaching retirement age.
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Several MEPs have insisted that the flawed fund should perish and that “not a penny” should be spent on its rescue. In a letter to EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola last year, several MEPs also warned that the fund was posing “potentially devastating reputational risks for the European Parliament.”
The fund was first established in 1990 and was open to Members of the European Parliament until 2009. For every €1,000 paid into the scheme by legislators, parliament contributed €2,000 of taxpayers’ money. Nearly 900 people are expected to receive a pension from the fund by 2024. The list of contributors and beneficiaries includes EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s National Front and his daughter Marine Le Pen, as well as UKIP founder Nigel Farage.
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