18th Nov 2017

Commission: equal pay for MEPs strain on EU budget

Euro-parliamentarians have taken the first step in reforming their working conditions, pay and expenses by voting in favour of the Rothley report which establishes a Statute for MEPs.

But the Commission, in its opinion after the vote, noted that "there will clearly be significant additional costs for the EC budget."

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The majority of MEPs voted in favour of an equal salary of 8,500 euro a month, eliminating the present disparities between what MEPs earn according to their nationality. This new salary amount will be paid from the EU budget and not by the respective Member States as it is presently.

At the moment an Italian MEP earns 11,779 euro per month whereas a Spaniard earns 2,540.

But whilst they voted themselves a pay rise, the EU acceding states might still face themselves with a lower pay.

Opt-out for MEPs from new member states

MEPs decided to give the new EU states the option to keep paying MEPs elected from their country like their respective national parliamentarians, from the entry into force of the accession treaty to the end of the second full European Parliament legislative term after that date.

The Commission also indicated that provisions in the draft statute touching immunities raise certain legal problems, as they would amend primary law, and therefore be out of the competence of the European Parliament.

Despite five-year long discussions over the Statute for MEPs, Mr Rothley wanted this issue to be included in the report, even though it might lead EU states to block it.

The issue of taxation might also put the European Parliament at loggerheads with the Council.

It was decided that MEPs should pay tax to the European Communities and not their national taxation. Besides the likely opposition which might arrive from the Nordic countries and the UK, the liberals in the European Parliament feel that this will bring them in a position of EU civil servants, as they will not be paying the same tax as their constituents.

MEPs will now vote tomorrow on the motion for resolution, after considering the opinion given by the Commission. If approved, the Statute will go to the Council with the hope that EU states will not block it.

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.

MEPs put 'Article 7' against Poland on launch pad

MEPs urged Poland to comply with the EU treaties and to halt the 'reform' of the judiciary that could further undermine the rule of law in the country. Polish PM Beata Szydlo called the vote 'outrageous'.

Tying EU funds to politics could be double-edged

EU taxpayer money to countries challenging EU core values? The answer might seem obvious, but not to those on the receiving end of the EU subsidies, who argue that most of the money trickles back.

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