Euro politicians have been ordered to work from home as the second wave of coronavirus sweeps across the Continent. The Parliament’s buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg have been shut to all but the most senior representatives and eurocrats. This has also provoked fury from greedy MEPs who have been told they’re no longer allowed to claim their £300-a-day allowance to stop them travelling simply to claim their expenses.
MEPs already pocket more than £100,000 in salary and expenses every year.
German MEP Gunnar Beck wrote to President David Sassoli to express his displeasure over the shutdown.
Mr Beck insisted MEPs had been forced to “high away at home like frightened rabbits and to approve EU legislation and hundreds of billions of public expenditure from their children’s bedrooms or in their pyjamas”.
He added: “Is it reasonable or ethical to expect healthcare and other essential workers to continue carrying out apparently hazardous jobs while consigning other citizens to near-certain unemployment and hence an uncertain and dismal future, when MEPs and parliamentary officials, on generally higher wages, are told to retreat into salaried hibernation?”
The intervention came as another German MEP, Markus Ferber, bemoaned that his fellow Euro politicians had been forced to take public transport after the Parliament’s limousine service was suspended.
In a rant at the Parliament’s decision-makers, Mr Ferber fumed: “We have to take public transport. Is that the protection you think we are worthy of?
“Every day you get your per diems, we don’t get them, because you have decided that without any kind of legal basis you have referred to.”
Mr Ferber was last week at the centre of a Parliament-wide rant about the cuts to MEPs’ expenses.
He wrote to thousands of politicians and assistants claiming the Parliament had lost its “legitimacy” and accused the authorities of damaging democracy.
The daily allowances handed to MEPs costs European taxpayers more than £1 million a week.
The politicians are also given a lump sum General Expenditure allowance of £4,147 every month to cover the cost of their offices on top of their £6,321 salaries.
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“Many merrily reserve the fleet of plush limos to ferry them to their pristine offices to rearrange their paper clips and polish their framed certificates, enabling them to sign in and coin it while renting cheap flats in the city, some even cohabiting like blackmarket labourers, just to squeeze those extra cents out.
“A tax free daily chunk of cash just for entering a building, complete with chauffeur to take you there and back to sign in, is probably the most exploited and absurd perk in the parliament.
“I guess money-grabbing MEPs may not be ready to embrace the ‘new normal’ after all.”