The European Union's executive arm admitted that it was still paying the former top officials large chunks of their salaries even after they joined firms such as Ryanair or even became foreign minister.
But the commission, the guardian of budget discipline in a continent where governments are cutting public sector wages to reduce huge deficits, stressed that the payments were a helping hand in line with its rules!!!!
"The aim of this system is to ease their return to the labour market, (Ohh! com'on) ...
to maintain their independence after their time as commissioner," European Commission spokesman Michael Mann told a news briefing.
The EU pays ex-commissioners between 40 and 65 percent of their old salaries, which start at 20,300 euros (27,000 dollars) per month, to ease life after Brussels, even after they join the private sector.
"This is paid to all the commissioners unless they don't want it," Mann said.''
I would like to add here that from what I 've heard that commissionner Benita Ferrero-Waldner refused the said double pay.
The Financial Times Deutschland reported said Brussels still pays 17 former commissioners at least 96,000 euros a year even after they landed plum jobs in lobbying or politics. Former internal markets commissioner Charlie McCreevy of Ireland and former fisheries commissioner Joe Borg of Malta each receive 11,000 euros every month from Brussels, the daily said.
McCreevy, who left the commission earlier this year, gets paid an estimated 47,000 euros a year as a board member of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, FTD said. Borg works for a Brussels-based consultancy, FIPRA.
Others on the list obtained by AFP include Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, British Labour politician Peter Mandelson and French constitutional court member Jacques Barrot. The commission did not disclose how much it pays them, however.
The basic monthly salary of a commissioner is around 20,300 euros, excluding other perks. A commission vice president earns 22,500 euros per month, while the president gets almost 25,000 euros.
The Open Europe think tank estimates that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso makes as much as US President Barack Obama: 400,000 dollars per year. The Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), an anti-corruption organisation, said the system highlights the need to revamp the European Commission's "lax" code of conduct for former commissioners.
"It is a new argument in favour of a waiting period for ex-commissioners (to enter the private sector) in order to prevent conflicts of interest," said CEO campaigner Olivier Hoedemann. The commission pays a former top official's salary for up to three years from the first month after leaving office.
A commissioner who served for more than 15 years gets 65 percent of his or her salary. Commissioners who served five to 10 years get 55 percent, while those who served at least two years receive 40 percent.
Mann stressed that Brussels caps the payments, which are aimed at helping former commissioners maintain the same level of income. The wages a former commissioner gets from the private sector combined with the EU compensation cannot exceed the official's former salary.
The commission pays nothing if the private sector salary exceeds the ex-official's old wages from Brussels.
I believe this to be a first class scandal comparable to greek national political corruption that proves in flying colours that who has access to the source, to the well gets the easy life.
People of Europe did you hear that?