Friday

22nd Jun 2018

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join 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.

Interview

Academic to probe EU's secret law-making

A German PhD candidate has recently started conducting interviews about how the EU's behind-closed-doors 'trilogues' actually work. "Now the fun work starts," he says.

EP in blame game on Zuckerberg meeting format

[UPDATED] Last month's 'hearing' with Facebook CEO allowed him to give only general or evasive answers about the data breach scandal involving Cambridge Analytica - partly due to the controversial format of the meeting.

News in Brief

  1. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  2. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  3. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  4. EU adopts posted workers directive
  5. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI
  6. May passes Brexit bill after rebels accept compromise
  7. Pope: populists 'creating a psychosis' on migrants
  8. MEPs want to restrict use of antibiotics

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  2. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  4. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  7. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  9. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  10. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  12. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us