Party backs MEP Vautmans over allegations from former staff

The leadership of Flemish liberal party Open VLD has expressed its full support for MEP Hilde Vautmans following allegations by former staff members about her use of European money and working conditions, a party spokesperson said on Monday.

The allegations against Vautmans were made an article in Knack. On Monday, she refuted them and said that parliamentary services had confirmed she had not broken any rules. 

A party spokesperson confirmed this and added that Vautmans may have underestimated the impact of the workload on her staff. “People who feel aggrieved can always contact Hilde for a conversation, or any confidential advisor of the European Parliament or of the party,” they said.

Strict rules

Speaking on VRT’s De Ochtend radio show on Monday, Vautmans said the allegations were intended to discredit her in the run-up to the elections. 

“Everything we organise with European money is subject to strict rules, and that’s fortunate,” she said. “The European Parliament confirmed to me by email the day before yesterday that all my spending of European funds was done in compliance with the rules.”

Vautmans was criticised in the article by a number of former parliamentary aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity. They said she had misused European funds and used staff paid by the European Parliament for tasks unrelated to her European mandate.

The article also referred to toxic leadership. “If there are people who feel aggrieved and wish to have a conversation, my door is open,” Vautmans said. “I have received 12 emails from staff and trainees saying that what was in the article was simply not true.”


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO HANS LUCAS

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