Congress more than halved its total bill for domestic and international travel in 2020, the first for the coronavirus pandemic, compared to 2018, the last for ordinary operation. Specifically, last year the Chamber spent 2.83 million euros on trips compared to 6.54 million invested in 2018, that is to say, there has been a saving of 3.71 million, 56.7%.
With respect to 2019, year in which the Cortes were dissolved for five months and as many as running at half gas Due to the lack of agreement for the formation of the Government, the savings have been almost one million euros, 25%.
Specifically, throughout 2020 the Congress invoiced a total of 2,604,987.07 euros in travel of deputies through national territory, to which must be added the 229,018.71 euros invested in just 15 international trips to which senators also usually go.
The savings in internal travel compared to 2018 (when 5,019,068 euros were used for this purpose) reached 2.41 million, 48.09%, while if compared with the year of 2019 it remains at 7 %, about 200,000 euros. That year there were also months of stoppage due to the two general elections that were in June and November.
According to data collected by Europa Press, of the 2.60 million euros invoiced in 2020, 1,783,522.89 euros were invested in trips made by the deputies between Madrid and their respective constituencies, the so-called trips for ‘parliamentary activity’.
The rest are 219,971.28 euros destined to defray trips of deputies to attend political events, with the permission of the leadership of your parliamentary group, and another 520.34 euros for official trips of institutional representation of the Chamber
The global figure for these trips includes the cost of tickets from plane, train and bus, as well as compensation for mileage in a private vehicle, as well as management expenses, cancellations, changes and tickets issued pending use.
For their part, Trips abroad They have fallen from the 66 that took place in 2019 (including the periods of dissolved Courts in which international departures continued) to only 15 in 2020. In 2018, the last year at full capacity, these displacements were almost 140.
Trips abroad drop 85%
In monetary terms, savings for this concept have reached 785.293,19 euros since in 2019 the total expenditure was 1,014,311.9 euros and in 2020 it remained at 229,018.71 (77.4% less). With respect to 2018, the bill fell by 1.30 million (85.03%), since then 1.53 million were invested in trips abroad.
In total last year there were only 15 trips outside of Spain: eleven before the outbreak of the pandemic in March and only four when the restrictions were already in place. The virus led the international assemblies of which the Courts are part to transform their traditional face-to-face meetings into telematics, with the consequent savings.
At the turn of the summer, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the one that usually spends the most on trips due to the broad scope of the delegation and the periodicity of its meetings, combined face-to-face and online appointments. However, on only two occasions has a Spanish parliamentarian, the socialist senator Antonio Gutiérrez Limones, participated in Strasbourg in the meetings of its permanent commission, since he is one of the vice-presidents of this forum.
The other two international trips that took place after the summer were to attend the VIII Hispano-Portuguese Parliamentary Forum, in Lisbon, for two days in September, and in November to Rome, where the president of the Congress traveled, Meritxell Batet, at the invitation of his Italian counterpart.
These figures include only travel and accommodation expenses in the various destinations, but not the expenses of parliamentarians during their stay outside the country. Until 2017, those who participated in these trips received a daily allowance of 150 euros, but Congress replaced this amount with a system of crediting duly justified expenses.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.