21st Mar 2019

EU parliament keen to hire more staff

  • The house says it has more work to do under the Lisbon Treaty (Photo: European Parliament)

MEPs have voted to give themselves an extra €1,500 a month in allowances and to hire 150 more staff.

"Due to the parliament's vastly increased powers and tasks under the Lisbon Treaty, extra staff are needed in parliament's political groups, its administration, and to work with MEPs," it said in a statement justifying the €13.4 million proposal.

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Seventy five of the new officials will go to work in the parliament's law-making committees and 75 will be gobbled up by its political groups.

The statement said the €1,500 allowance will be used to hire "more or better-qualified" assistants for MEPs.

It noted that assistants' fees are handled by the parliamentary administration, not by individual deputies, in a nod to a mini- scandal last year which saw some British members exposed for siphoning cash to relatives.

The house plans to cut an internal rainy-day fund for its buildings by €4 million to help pay for the increases.

The staffing proposal was passed by 430 votes against 117 with 58 abstentions on Thursday (25 February). But it must now be approved by the European Commission and by EU states in developments expected in April.

MEPs already get €17,540 a month to pay for assistants on top of wages of €7,807 per month.

Thursday's resolution comes ahead of an upcoming report by Belgian Green MEP Bart Staes criticising the house's accounting standards.

It also comes amid crisis-related austerity measures imposed in several EU states, not least Greece, which has been hit by strikes and protests over budgetary cuts in recent days.

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