27th May 2019

Reform of MEPs' perks unlikely before election

Euro-parliamentarians have approved a report limiting their pay but retaining control of perks. The deal is being seen by some as a fudge.

The controversial proposal for a new statute for members of the European Parliament was passed in the legal affairs committee on Tuesday.

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.

... or join as a group

The report, drafted by German Social Democrat MEP Willi Rothley, proposes a fixed salary for all MEPs of 50% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice, around 8,000 euro per month.

One of those opposed to the report, Finnish MEP and a member of the Christian Democrat EPP group, Piia-Noora Kauppi expressed deep disappointment over the vote.

"In reality it means we will get no reform, because we know the Council will never accept this report," she told the EUobserver. The council is demanding more transparency round the perks to which MEPs are entitled and not just a new salary proposal.

Ms Kauppi also criticised the Rothley proposal to allow MEPs, who are re-elected next year to be able to continue with the old lucrative perk system.

Under the approved plan only new MEPs would be forced to follow the new, stricter rules, she told the EUobserver.

Demanding reform ahead of EU elections and enlargement

Since the first direct elections of the European Parliament, no uniform statute for Members has been agreed.

As it stands, different MEPs receive different salaries because they are paid the same basic salary as a national parliamentarian from their own country.

Presently, the highest salary is enjoyed by Italian MEPs, who were paid 11,779 euro per month in September 2002. The lowest-paid MEPs are the Spanish, who received 2,540 euro in September 2002.

Ms Kauppi and many other MEPs want to strike a deal with the Council and reform the system before the next European Parliament elections in 2004. If not, they fear that voters could focus on MEPs' lucrative perks and salaries during the election campaigns.

The Parliament is also under pressure to find agreement before enlargement of the European Union. A Czech politician elected as a member of the European Parliament in the June 2004 elections would only be paid a salary of 400 euro per month, the same as MPs in the Prague parliament according to the existing rules.

Council wants deal on perks

The new rules must be decided by a majority in the European Parliament and approved by the Council with a qualified majority.

The Council is demanding a fixed deal with the Parliament on perks before agreeing to a new statute - and this is proving to be the main sticking point, sources told EUobserver.

Mr Rothley's report does not offer a solution to the problem, as it insists on the right of the European Parliament to decide autonomously on the reimbursement of costs and other benefits, such as travel costs, subsistence allowances, secretarial allowance and social benefits for MEPs.

These perks add substantially to MEPs' salaries.

The Rothley report will now be passed on for a final vote in the plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg in April.

Remuneration of members of national parliaments in the European Union

(Amounts - per month - updated in September 2002)

Austria - 14 months - 7,500 euro

Belgium - 12 months - 5,544 euro

Denmark - 12 months - 5,570 euro

Finland - 12 months - 4,541 euro

France - 12 months - 5,169 euro

Germany - 12 months - 6,878 euro

Greece - 14 months - 4,800 euro

Ireland - 12 months - 5,984 euro

Italy - 12 months -11,779 euro

Luxembourg- 12 months - 4,637 euro

Netherlands - 12 months - 6,467 euro

Portugal - 14 months - 3,448 euro

Spain - 14 months - 2,540 euro

Sweden - 12 months - 4,800 euro

United Kingdom - 12 months - 7,216 euro

Comparative table, submitted by Mr Willi Rothley, rapporteur on the Statute for Members. The allowances are subject to the different member state taxes.

Papandreou tied up with MEPs' perks on eve of war

On the eve of the first assault on Iraq, Greek Foreign Minister and the Head of the EU Council, George Papandreou spent two hours with the Presidents of the political groups in the European Parliament trying to break a deadlock on drafting a new common statute for MEPs.

MEP perks on foreign ministers' agenda

Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow will take time out from discussing controversial international issues to discussing controversial issues closer to home: MEPs' pay and funding of pan-European political parties.


Jubilant Greens in party mood after first EP projection

A party like atmosphere has seized the Greens as a packed room of people discuss around food and drinks. Elsewhere, the centre-right EPP appear sombre, as they huddle around their computers behind closed doors.

2019 European election results

With 427 million possible voters, across 28 EU countries, electing 751 MEPs, it's the second-biggest democratic vote in the world. The results will come thick and fast - follow them here, via the European Parliament's official results site.

News in Brief

  1. Timmermans calls for 'progressive alliance'
  2. Catalonia's Puigdemont wins MEP seat
  3. Weber opens door to alliance with greens and liberals
  4. Tsipras calls snap Greek election after EP defeat
  5. Polish ruling PiS takes lion's share of EU vote
  6. Romanian voters punish ruling PSD party
  7. First official EP projection: EPP remain top, Greens fourth
  8. UK forecast puts Brexit Party on top, with 24 seats

Key details on how Europeans will vote

It's one of the biggest democratic exercises in the world with over 400 million eligible voters. National rules apply, and national parties run, but the stakes are at European level.


All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Populists' EU breakthrough fails, greens and liberals gain
  2. Jubilant Greens in party mood after first EP projection
  3. 2019 European election results
  4. Thunberg: We can still fix climate, but must start today
  5. Turnout up in Slovakia, with pro-EU liberals scoring high
  6. Belgium votes in hybrid EU-national election
  7. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  8. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  3. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  8. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  9. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  10. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  11. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us