Saturday

21st Apr 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Investigation

MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes

MEPs are using so-called 'friendship groups' to cater to foreign governments without oversight and little public scrutiny. Initially set up to promote cultural exchanges, some have become lobbying platforms to push state views from governments with poor human rights records.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  3. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  4. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  5. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  6. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  7. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  10. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  12. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights