Monday, 18 May 2009

Highest Paid MP's Have Worst Attendance Record in European Parliament

OpenEurope reports that the highest paid MP's have the worst attendance in the European Parliament

Times reported that the worst attendance record at the European Parliament has gone to the highest-paid MEPs - the Italians. Italian MEPs currently earn €134,291 (£120,000) a year but came bottom of the 27 EU nations for turning up in Brussels and Strasbourg, appearing at 72 percent of sittings over the past five years. British MEPs had an 86 percent attendance record, 17th out of 27 over the course of the 2004-2009 European Parliament, according to the analysis by

According to the article, under a new system, coming into effect after June's elections, all MEPs will be paid the same rate of €88,952 a year, rather than the same rate as individual countries' domestic MPs. It means a pay rise for British MEPs, who are currently on €71,500, and a massive rise for Bulgarians, who earn €9,200 a year.

The News of the World reported that UKIP MEP John Whittaker receives a £64,766 a year salary but only goes to Brussels once a month because he "doesn't believe in the EU". Whittaker claimed he was saving the taxpayer money because he only receives his salary and not his daily attendance allowance.

The Sun notes that Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague is insisting that newly elected Conservative MEPs will have to sign a pledge to reveal precisely how they spend their taxpayer funded allowances and expenses. Conservative MEP candidates will be told to publish expenses claims online, update them every three months and publish online details of all meetings with pressure groups.

The Times reports that from the next parliamentary session, MEPs will be unable to employ close family members, with all Brussels-based assistants to be paid direct from the authorities. Saturday's Irish Times noted that the impetus for the change was given a boost when internal auditors discovered some MEPs were paid for non-existent staff, had not made social security payments to staff, and in one case paid a staff member a Christmas bonus worth 19 times their monthly salary. In the next parliament all MEPs will have to provide receipts for all travel, although they will continue to receive flat rate subsistence and general expenditure allowances and will not have to provide receipts for claims.

The Irish Sunday Business Post cited Open Europe's recent briefing on the European Parliament when looking at the voting record of Conservative MEPs in the European People's Party. It also quotes the briefing saying, "The European Parliament has substantial powers to influence daily life in Britain and takes decisions affecting everything, from working time to energy and internet use . . . the often repeated claim that MEPs 'lack real powers' is largely inaccurate."

Sunday Business Post Open Europe briefing Times Irish Times Times 2 Sun

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