Wednesday

18th Sep 2019

Taxpayers foot huge EU Presidency bill

The six-month EU Presidency, which puts the particular member state under the glare of a political and media spotlight, also brings enormous costs.

Ireland, which holds the EU Presidency for the first half of this year, is no exception.

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  • The total bill for the Irish Presidency is expected to be over 90m euro (Photo: European Commission)

The Irish Independent reports that the Presidency will cost Irish taxpayers around 500,000 euro for every day it remains at the EU helm.

The total bill will be well above 90m euro.

While around 23m euro was spent on preparations last year and 60m euro has been allocated this year - this is not the final sum as some of the Irish government departments have yet to say how much they are set to spend.

The Department of Foreign Affairs will be the biggest spender with a budget of 25 million euro for the year's events.

An Irish official told the EUobserver, that preparations for the Presidency started two years ago and for a small administration means a large strain in human resources, let alone costs.

To ensure a smooth stint at the head of the EU, Ireland doubled the number of people working at its Representation to the EU from 80 to 160 people.

No sponsors in the Netherlands

Meanwhile, the Netherlands, which takes over the EU Presidency directly after Ireland for the remainder of the year, is having problems of its own.

According to De Volksrant, the Dutch government is having difficulty finding business sponsorship for their EU Presidency.

On Saturday, the newspaper quoted the foreign ministry as saying that "seemingly businesses would rather not advertise with the Dutch EU Presidency".

The government is hoping to save two to three million euro from the overall costs, which are predicted to be around 68 million euro, through business sponsorship.

Whatever the costs, small countries tend to shine during EU Presidencies - a combination of having both more time than larger countries and of taking the whole issue of the Presidency, which is to give political guidance to the EU, more seriously.

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