The cut would save nearly half a billion euros
The main increase of costs is due to the massive inflation of bureaucracy
Brussels, 12 October 2011 – While nearly all national governments have implemented austerity measures to reduce debt and promote growth, the European Parliament is asking to increase its own budget. A study published today by New Direction – The Foundation for European Reform demonstrates that the parliament’s budget does not only need to be increased but it can be substantially decreased.
The study ‘Ending Excess – Cutting the European Parliament’s costs’ proposes concrete cuts that would reduce the EP budget by some € 400 million per year or approximately 24%. Funds saved should be returned to the exchequers of EU net contributor states.
Launching the study, the president of New Direction Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, MBE commented: “Proposed costs would save nearly half a billion Euros without damaging core functions of the institution.”
According to Van Orden the driving force in cost increases has been the massive inflation of the Parliament’s bureaucracy. Since the enlargement in 2004 the number of staff has grown from 3,946 to 6,245. There are only 4 more MEPs now then in 2004 (increase from 732 to 736). Over 1,000 Parliament officials also disproportionally earn more than the MEPs. By comparison, just 83 staff members of the British House of Commons were paid more than Members of the Parliament.
“If the European Parliament does not cut excess swiftly, it will lose all confidence of voters who have to cut basic needs,” said the vice-president of New Direction Derk Jan Eppink MEP.
Selection of costs and proposed cuts:
- At least € 100 million is spent each year translating documents - € 90 million of which is for “preparatory” documents. This figure could rise to € 128 million if three new languages were added. The number of languages for preparatory documents should be reduced to 5 or 6 – a move that could save € 40 million per year with almost no impact on the Parliament’s work.
- The project of the new “House of European History” museum (costs are expected to grow above €150 million) should be cancelled as a whole. Spending on the 34 "Information Offices", which employ over 200 personnel in every Member State and beyond, is now over €44 million every year and should be reduced.
- The Parliament rents, leases or owns some 63 buildings. This is more than double the number of buildings the EP occupied in 2002. On 26 September 2011, the Parliament’s Bureau agreed to purchase yet another building in Strasbourg at a cost of €6.7 million and renovate it at a cost of €9.2 million. It also decided to spend €30 million on rearranging MEPs’ offices. The EP should aim to reduce the number of square metres it occupies by 10% over three years, eventually saving € 25 million each year.
- MEPs’ salaries should be frozen at their current rates (€93,685 per year). General Expenditure Allowance for MEPs is currently about €4,200 per month, it should be reduced by 10%, and the means should be found to reduce other travel costs by the same percentage.
- Huge savings would come from closing the Parliament’s second seat in Strasbourg. Holding all plenary sessions in Brussels would save at least €200 million a year.
Note New Direction - The Foundation for European Reform is a free market think-tank established in Brussels in 2010 to add innovative ideas and encourage reform efforts in Europe. Together with a strong network of partner think tanks around Europe, New Direction produces original and relevant research papers focusing on the most pressing issues in the area of economic growth, competition, financial regulation, energy security, taxation, agricultural policy, bureaucracy and EU institutional affairs.
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Johana Grohová, Communications Manager