Tuesday

19th Feb 2019

MEPs set to agree on equal salaries from EU budget

The European Parliament is expected to hammer out a new salary system for its deputies, scrapping the pay discrepancies among them and ending a much criticised reimbursement scheme for their travels.

The parliamentarians will debate the new MEP statute this afternoon (22 June) and vote on the draft tomorrow, during their plenary session in Brussels.

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MEPs are likely to follow the overwhelming support of the draft by the Parliament’s legal committee, appointed to give its opinion on the document.

All the main political parties have supported the legislation, which is also backed by a majority of member states.

However, the Italian centre-right rapporteur Giuseppe Gargani - officially backing the statute - has sent a letter to his nationals, asking them to reject it, because of the significant drop it would mean in their salaries, according to sources.

The centre right EPP-ED party, which is the biggest parliamentary group, is expected to be split when voting on the document.

The vote itself will be separate for the statute and one of its suggestions, which would not get approval by the member states.

It is the proposal to allow the national governments to add up to their deputies' salaries permanently, and not just for up to ten years of transitional period which they can opt of.

Without the postponements, the new system should come into force in 2009.

Italians to lose out the most

The new statute will provide the same salary and other payments for the MEPs from all the EU countries, paid out from the bloc’s budget whereas so far it has been covered by the member states.

The monthly pay for the deputies is to be levelled at 7000 euro, which corresponds to 38.5 percent of the wages of a judge at the European Court of Justice.

That will mean a boost for deputies from all the member states, apart from Italy and Austria where the MEPs salaries mount to around 12 000 euro and 7 500 euro respectively. The deputies from Ireland and the UK are currently getting about the same pay as proposed for the future.

On the other hand, the figure is to rocket for the countries from central and eastern Europe, where the salaries range from around 1000 euro euro in Latvia to over 4000 euro in Slovenia.

The new system would mean that in some states, the MEPs would not only get far more than the national deputies, but also more than other state authorities.

"For some member states, it can be politically impossible to explain to their citizens such a great gap between the national and European salaries for members of parliament. So they can keep to the current system," said the spokesman for the legal affairs committee.

He added that if governments decide to do so, they would have to provide the salaries from their own national budget.

The parliamentary salaries will be subject to an EU income tax of 25 percent, which will flow back to the common budget, but member states can tax their deputies additionally if their national income tax is higher.

Stop cheap travel and big cash backs

The new system will ditch the existing provisions for reimbursements of MEP’s travelling.

At the moment – and applied at least until 2009 if the draft is adopted – the deputies get flat-rate refund for their travel between different working places (up to €971), and from home to work (0.24 euro per km), plus an extra travel allowance of €3736 per year for work-related journeys throughout the year.

Under the new statute, all the reimbursements will be based on the actual receipts from the travel tickets, and this should apply even if the member states apply the transitional period.

While the MEPs will get less for their journeys, they will still keep their daily presence allowance of €268, plus the money for running their office of up to €14, 865 per month.

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