22nd Sep 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

Belarus opposition leader urges EU to be 'braver'

The Belarus oppositon leader asked the EU not to support the Belarus authorities financially, and not to recognise Lukashenko as the country's president when his term ends in November.


'Big Three' EP groups nominate homophobe for Sakharov prize

The centre-right EPP, centre-left S&D, and liberal Renew Europe have all nominated a homophobe for the Sakharov prize - the prestigious annual prize handed out by the European Parliament to people who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Cyprus leaves EU ministers red-faced on Belarus

EU foreign ministers will have nothing to show Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya when they meet her in Brussels on Monday, after Cyprus blocked sanctions.


EU seals new Covid-19 deal amid global distribution fears

The European Commission sealed a second Covid-19 vaccine deal, amid fears over the fair distribution of supplies worldwide. So far Brussels has secured, or is negotiating, a stock of nearly two billion doses.

News in Brief

  1. Special EU summit postponed as Charles Michel quarantines
  2. Italy to cut number of MPs by one third
  3. World's richest 1% 'fuelling climate crisis'
  4. Polish government at risk over animal-rights law
  5. UK 'could see 50,000 new corona cases a day'
  6. EU cuts carbon market compensation for industry
  7. Russia and US could scrap another nuclear arms treaty
  8. Turkish president sues Greek newspaper over headline

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Borrell gives EU four weeks to save foreign policy
  2. Belarus opposition leader urges EU to be 'braver'
  3. Kyrgyzstan cannot paper over death of Azimjon Askarov
  4. 'Big Three' EP groups nominate homophobe for Sakharov prize
  5. Cyprus leaves EU ministers red-faced on Belarus
  6. EU seals new Covid-19 deal amid global distribution fears
  7. German court hears harrowing testimony of Syria torture
  8. Turkey, Belarus and migration in the EU spotlight This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us