19th Mar 2018

Canete gets EU parliament pension while still commissioner

  • Canete is already receiving retirement benefits from the European parliament although he is a full-time European commissioner (Photo: European Commission)

European commissioner for climate Miguel Arias Canete is drawing a pension from the European parliament in addition to the approximately €20,000 he takes home every month.

Although not retired, the 67-year old former MEP is receiving the sum from a controversial voluntary pension scheme that is running a €326 million actuarial deficit.

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.

"The amount received is fully declared and taxed by the Spanish authorities," his spokesperson said in an email.

Asked how much, she said the figure "is derived from the contributions he pays."

The fund is set to go bust in six or eight years. It means the EU taxpayer will likely have to foot the bill.

MEPs only had to pay into the scheme for two years before being entitled to a full life pension once they hit the age of 63. Canete is 67 and has been the EU commissioner for climate action and energy since 2014.

Presumably, Canete will also be entitled to a European Commission pension once he leaves office. He was an MEP from 1986 to 1999 and again in 2014. He also worked for the Spanish government as environment minister.

Canete is not the only EU commissioner on the fund. His counterpart Marianne Thyssen, the EU commissioner for employment, had also signed up to the scheme when she was an MEP.

First set up in 1990 and open to MEPs until 2009, the voluntary pension was designed to provide MEPs who did not receive a pension from their member state with one.

It is a second pension fund for MEPs given that member states also pay them a pension. To qualify MEPs at the time only had to pay one-third into the scheme themselves, with the European parliament topping it up with two-third contribution.

"Since 2009 it is no longer possible for new MEPs to profit from it, but that is not enough, given the fact that the arrangement remains a liability for taxpayers, which are obliged to bail it out," Pieter Cleppe, from the British think tank Open Europe, told this website.

The voluntary pension fund is managed by a Luxembourg-based non profit. According to Belgian Green MEP Bart Sates, some of the money has been invested in nuclear energy.

Staes is pressing former MEPs to drop out of the scheme, which ended in 2009, given it will likely go insolvent. Most MEPs in the fund are said to have used their general allowance expenditure as contributions.

The allowance is a tax free lump sum of €4,342 given to each MEP every month, deposited into their personal bank accounts. The money is supposed to be used for work related tasks. There is no oversight.

"All members paid that one-third out of their general allowance expenditures, which cannot be considered as an income," Staes told EUobserver earlier this week.

EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme

An MEP voluntary pension scheme is running a €326 million actuarial deficit. The Luxembourg-based fund, set to manage to scheme, is said to have invested the money in controversial sectors like the arms industry.

Panama Papers: EU's Canete implicated in leak

Financial dealings of EU climate commissioner Canete are revealed in leaked documents called the Panama Papers, which also shed light on finances of the leaders of Iceland, Russia and Ukraine.

Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case

The European Commission repeated that it followed the rules when its former head joined Goldman Sachs - and suggested it will not follow the EU Ombudsman's demand to refer the case back to the ethics committee.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere