Friday

23rd Oct 2020

MEPs vote themselves extra €1,500 allowance a month

  • German MEP Grassle: 'I cannot do the political or control work I have to do if I don't have more staff' (Photo: European Parliament)

MEPs have elected to boost their monthly allowance for staff and office expenses by €1,500, mirroring a similar move last year despite a widespread austerity drive in EU member states.

The decision by members of the European Parliament's budgetary committee on Thursday (3 March) will see the legislature's overall budget increase by almost €13.25 million in 2011.

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

MEPs from parliament's Socialist and centre-right European Peoples Party groups supported the proposed raise, while other groups said the decision was unjustified.

German Green MEP Helga Trupel said the move showed EU lawmakers were "clearly out of touch with fiscal realities ...[and] sent completely the wrong signal" to EU citizens. Portuguese far-left MEP Miguel Portas called the decision "misconceived".

Meanwhile, supporters say the extra allowance would enable the hiring of additional staff to tackle the growing workload under the EU's new Lisbon Treaty, in place since 1 December 2009.

"I cannot do the political or control work I have to do if I don't have more staff," said German centre-right MEP Ingeborg Grassle.

Euro deputies are paid €7,956.87 per month before tax, and an additional €300 for the days they officially sign in to work in Brussels or Strasbourg.

They also receive a monthly allowance of €19,709 for staff and other office expenses, with Thursday's decision set to increase this figure.

The move is unlikely to be welcomed in several corners of Europe as EU governments embark on a wave of spending cuts and tax increases.

Leaders from Britain, France and Germany late last year called for limits to be placed on future EU spending, while a commission and parliament request for a six percent increase to the EU's 2011 budget was eventually cut in half by member states.

In a sign that some in the EU institutions were beginning to take note, an internal memo written by commission secretary-general Catherine Day last month called on the EU body to change its culture of "entitlement" and "bureaucratic focus" and to embark on a new efficiency drive.

EU commission on defensive over 'revolving doors'

The European Commission rubber-stamped over 99 percent requests by officials to take on jobs in the private sector, posing ethical questions in light of known examples where conflicts of interests appear to be clear cut.

Investigation

Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience

Under EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, transparency was supposed to be a "guiding principle". Instead, the European Commission is asking Kafkaesque questions in response to an access to documents request, and failing to meet its legal deadline.

Future of Europe: EU Council urged to propose a chair

Since the German presidency promised the Conference on the Future of Europe would start under their leadership, the European Commission and MEPs hope the event will be launched soon. But there is one issue: who will chair the conference?

Nine-in-ten EU regions face revenue plunge, report finds

The decrease of revenues in 2020 of subnational authorities in France, Germany and Italy alone is estimated to be €30bn for the three countries, a new report by the European Committee of the Regions says.

EU Parliament sticks to demands in budget tussle

The parliament wants €38.5bn extra for key programmes, which is less than their previous request of around €100bn. Negotiations continue on Thursday, but the budget and recovery could still get stuck on the rule-of-law issue.

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

News in Brief

  1. UK scientists fear Brexit blow to joint EU research
  2. Greek migrant camp lockdown extended
  3. Lukashenko and 14 others in EU crosshairs
  4. EU imposes sanctions over 2015 Bundestag cyberattack
  5. Italy reignites Mont Blanc border dispute with France
  6. Commission to press Croatia on migrant 'abuse' at border
  7. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  8. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

EU parliament vows not to cave in to budget pressure

The parliament's majorty dismisses the German EU presidency's proposal on the rule of law conditionality, which has emerged as the main political obstacle to agree on the next long-term EU budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. South Caucasus death toll much worse than feared
  2. Polish court effectively bans legal abortions
  3. MEPs urge EU to be ready to dump disputed energy treaty
  4. EU commission on defensive over 'revolving doors'
  5. Why German presidency is wrong on rule of law
  6. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  7. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  8. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us