Cost of EU Parliament steeply rising
The costs of the European parliament have been steeply increasing since 2011. It won’t take long before it hits 2 billion euros a year, a Dutch newspaper reported.
Published: March 14, 2018, 10:03 am
According to De Telegraaf, the costs of the Parliament have increased by €300 million since 2011. In 2018 the costs will be €1.95 billion, a massive increase which is not linked to inflation.
The European Parliament has its own taxi business with 110 drivers and flies in three thousand journalists to cover European elections.
Two Dutch MEPs, Dennis de Jong and Gerben-Jan Gebrandy say the Parliament’s way of spending money is not transparent.
For example the parliament’s highest official, the German Klaus Welle, does not have to face any opposition while raising the budget, the newspaper pointed out.
The British daily, The Telegraph has called the parliament a “travelling circus” that once a month sees it decamp from Brussels in Belgium to Strasbourg in France. And even though MEPs have voted to scrap a second parliament, the French government has the power to block it.
The “circus” travels at the taxpayers’ expense. The EU admitted in 2014 that the monthly Strasbourg sitting, which lasts just four days, cost almost €150 million.
Among the costs are the transport of documents and other items from Brussels to Strasbourg and back again.
The boxes are left outside offices in Brussels on a Friday evening, collected by a courier company and driven to Strasbourg, where they are unloaded and left outside to be collected the next day. The process is repeated in reverse on Thursday evening.
On top of that, the special Community tax paid by EU staff is generally lower than national rates of income tax for civil servants.
In addition Eurocrats in Brussels and Luxembourg get a wide range of allowances, including a residence allowance equivalent to 15 percent of their basic salary.
Some 100 people are employed in Strasbourg full-time, even though the European Parliament meets for 12 sessions, each lasting four days, a total of only 48 days each year.
During these short but costly sessions, some 5 500 people pour into Strasbourg, ranging from politicians, officials and the ever-present lobbyists.
A report into the “financial and environmental impact” of operating two parliaments, which was overseen by Welle, its top civil servant, had been requested by MEPs to give an accurate figure on the costs of two parliaments.
One source told The Telegraph that before each session begins, a maintenance crew visits every bathroom and turns on and off every tap to make sure no pipes have stale water.
Hotels in Strasbourg typically doubled their room rates for the four days it was reported in 2014, the Hilton in Strasbourg being just one such example. The hotel was offering rooms at around €92 for Sunday night, but this rose to a cheapest rate of €181 a night for Monday.
One MEP said he booked his accommodation a staggering five years in advance to ensure obtaining a room at an affordable rate.
The authors of the report admitted that “10 200 tonnes of CO2 per year would be saved if Strasbourg were no longer used as a place of work”, or the equivalent of 12 000 cars driving around the circumference of the world.
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