Thursday

5th Aug 2021

Martin Schulz chartered six private flights as EP president

  • Schulz in 2014 while campaigning to become EU commission president (Photo: Parti Socialiste)

Martin Schulz took six private charter flights over a three-year period while he was president of the European Parliament.

Media reports over the weekend suggested he had made "regular use of a private jet". Those flights, according to the UK's Sunday Times, were chartered at €20,000 an hour.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But records seen by EUobserver suggests that his use of private jets was not frequent.

He took two private flights each in 2014, 2015, and 2016 to Brussels, Berlin, Hamburg, and Strasbourg. Those flights were taken from Berlin, Strasbourg, Brussels and Madrid, according to the European Parliament.

An EU parliament spokesperson said in an email on Monday (13 February) that "a couple flights" had also been made with EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

In 2014, however, Schulz had taken some 20 commercial flights at the taxpayers' expense at costs varying from €184 to Paris and up to €2,300 to Jordan. The Jordan flight included five members of his staff, according to another document seen by this website.

The bulk of those trips took place shortly after Schulz had officially accepted the Party of European Socialists (PES) nomination to run for European Commission president on 1 March, 2014. The European elections were held on 22-25 May 2014.

He took seven flights in March followed by five in April alone. The March-April flights all went to capital cities around the EU.

Those flights appear to have been used for official EU parliament duties given his scheduled meetings with dignitaries, prime ministers and journalists.

What is less clear is the number of private flights chartered before 2014.

"Flights before are extremely difficult to get data for, because the then travel agency at the EP [European Parliament] did the invoicing manually mostly. So all paper documents would need to be gone through in the archives," an EU parliament spokesperson said in an email on Monday (13 February).

Parliament also asks for a market quotation each time the president needs a private charter flight because of agenda constraints, noted the spokesperson.

Schulz, a centre-left politician, became president of the European Parliament in 2012 and left in January this year to pursue politics in Germany.

The Christian Democrats are struggling to contain Schulz's popularity surge in Germany as he faces down Angela Merkel for the chancellery post. Polls earlier this month show his popularity was at 50 percent compared with Merkel's 37 percent.

But Schulz has already been the subject of another leak this week.

Herbert Reul, the head of the German conservative delegation in the Parliament, leaked a nine-page document that reportedly accuses Schulz of merging his duties as parliament president with his bid to become EU commission president in 2014 in the so-called "Spitzenkandidat" process.

Controversies

Similar accusations surfaced when a European Parliament discharge report noted Schulz's political activities as parliament president blurred in with his Spitzenkandidat to head the party of European socialists (PES) in the 2014 European elections.

Schulz had already run into controversy at the time when he was accused of using the parliament president Twitter handle as a campaign tool for the commission seat. He was also accused of using parliament staff to help prepare the campaign.

His spokesperson at the time Armin Machmir told this website that Schulz had voluntarily forfeited his daily parliament allowance during the 2014 election campaign and that he had provided a detailed list of his "travels and activities in full transparency, clearly differentiating Parliament activities from campaign activities".

EUobserved

Schulz: the end of a one-man parliament

Martin Schulz has been widely credited for raising the profile of the European Parliament during his terms at its helm. But he didn't do much to raise transparency and political accountability of the EU institutions.

Catalan MEPs lose immunity, slam 'political persecution'

Catalan separatist MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí lost their parliamentary immunity - a result they have hailed as a "political victory" for bringing the conflict between Catalonia and Spain closer to the heart of Europe.

12-month Future EU Conference is 'impossible', expert warns

The debate about the much-delayed Conference on the Future of Europe so far has been locked in endless institutional infighting over who should lead the event - lowering the expectations about what can be achieved in the coming months.

News in Brief

  1. EU secures deal with Novavax for potential Covid-19 vaccine
  2. France fined €10m for failing to tackle air pollution
  3. Fire near Athens forces thousands to evacuate
  4. EU to Lebanon: 'deliver results' on Beirut blast probe
  5. Belarus opposition leader demands regime end
  6. Croatia's border-monitoring of migrant rights 'falls short'
  7. Court stops Austria's Afghan deportation, as conflict worsens
  8. 'Missing' Belarus exiles group chief found dead in Kyiv

MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute

The Belgian and Bulgarian prosecutors who were appointed had also not been the experts' first choice. Belgian prosecutor Jean-Michel Verelst has challenged the council's decision at the European Court of Justice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Italy seeks EU help on migrant boat arrivals
  2. WHO calls for vaccine-booster pause to help poor countries
  3. Romania selling on its jabs, despite low vaccination rates
  4. Cyprus' Varosha is Erdogan's canary in the coalmine
  5. Europe sees drop in Covid-19 cases
  6. Burkinis and 'soul caps' - policing Olympic women back in fashion
  7. Telegram groups lure migrant hopefuls to Lithuania
  8. Third-time lucky for one Syrian grandmother in Denmark

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us