Friday

10th Apr 2020

Group of 17 ex-EU-commissioners on double pay

Seventeen former members of the European Commission get at least €96,000 per year in transitional allowances, money intended to help them ease back into the labour market, despite the fact that some of them already work as politicians or lobbyists.

The top earners in the group are former internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy and ex-fisheries chief Joe Borg, the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Wednesday (22 September).

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

  • Former members of the European Commission get EU money even if they have a job in politics or business (Photo: European Commission)

Since leaving his office in February 2010, Mr McCreevy has become a member of the supervisory board of Ryanair airlines, with an annual salary calculated by the Alter-EU anti-lobbying campaign group of up to €47,000.

But he is still said to get an additional €11,000 of transition money from the commission. The same amount is thought to go to Mr Borg who currently works for Fipra, a PR consultancy lobbying on maritime issues.

The commission's allowance rules say the transitional money is paid for three years and the sum is between 40 percent and 65 percent of the basic salary of a commissioner (€20,278 per month), depending on the length of service.

"This is to help former commissioners in the transition into the labor market," a spokesman of the commission is quoted as saying by FTD.

The transitional allowance is capped. "If the former commissioner takes up any new gainful activity, the amount of the new job's salary, added together with the allowance, cannot exceed the remuneration as a member of the commission," the rules say.

Dalia Grybauskaite, currently the president of Lithuania, who left the commission in July 2009, and Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister since May 2008 are also still on the Commission's payroll. Two members of the European Parliament receive the allowances as well - Poland's first commissioner Danuta Hubner and Belgium's Louis Michel.

Because of the increasing number of former commissioners taking part in business or lobbying activities, the European Commission is looking to tighten its code of conduct and to give it clearer language.

Brussels hopes to achieve the changes after an agreement with the European Parliament on institutional relations has been approved this autumn. The new code of conduct could possibly cover all the EU institutions, with currently only applies to the commission.

The engagement of the ex-commissioners in the private sector activities has caused discontent among NGOs, which launched an online petition Tuesday in which they ask the commission's president to introduce a three-year cooling-off period for commissioners wanting to move into lobbying activities.

"Many of these cases, such as Charlie McCreevy's move to Ryanair and Meglena Kuneva's move to BNP Paribas, give serious cause for concern. By launching his own lobby consultancy, Verheugen is blatantly violating the rules," the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation says on its website.

New push to kick Orban's party out of centre-right EPP

Member parties from the largest European political family have called for the expulsion of their Hungarian partner - again. This time, two prime ministers joined, but so far the heavyweights have again stayed away.

Already doubts over Belgium's new 'anti-corona government'

Belgium's King Philippe has given interim prime minister Sophie Wilmès the task of forming a government, after seven opposition parties agreed to support it. The agreement came after a political drama - and there are doubts if it will hold.

Analysis

What does Erdoğan want?

By opening Turkey's border, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to push Europe into supporting him in Ankara's negotiations with Russia's Vladimir Putin for a deal on Syria's Idlib.

'Fragmented' Slovakia votes amid corruption woes

Saturday's elections in Slovakia could herald the rise of the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia, or the emergence of a populist anti-corruption candidate, in a country wracked by mistrust since the assassination two years ago of an investigative journalist.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants trapped on boat in Tripoli due to shelling
  2. EU anti-crisis budget 'could be up to €1.5 trillion'
  3. Western Balkan states appeal for EU help with masks
  4. Spain's lockdown could be extended until 10 May
  5. IMF: Pandemic crisis will be worse than great depression
  6. German economy minister expects progress on EU deal
  7. Italian PM: EU is at risk if no deal on recovery plan
  8. Belgian region to block EU Green Deal

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. How the EU's virus-alert agency failed
  2. Flemish nationalists torpedo Belgium Green Deal pledge
  3. Eurozone agreed €500bn cushion against virus blow
  4. Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale
  5. EU court blocks Poland's bid to 'frighten' judges
  6. Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders
  7. EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign
  8. EU delays 'exit strategies' plan, as WHO urges caution

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us