Saturday, 4 May 2019

Where to find a great job

Between 1 July 2014 and 4 May 2019 the EU Parliament voted on 2330 Resolutions.  Of these, 198 (8%) resolutions were defeated.  However this doesn't provide an accurate account of the voting because 12% of the defeated resolutions related to a NO vote on changing the daily parliamentary agenda.  Moreover a number of the NO votes were in relation to a proposal to reject the EU Commission Proposal.  Which effectively means they were a YES vote.  I then started researching the number of NO votes that had subsequently been reversed, eventually giving up when I couldn't find an original NO vote that had NOT been overturned.  One assumes there are some, but there don't appear to be many on any issue of substance.

So why is the EU Parliament so passive?  My view is it has been deliberately designed that way.  Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have no power to initiate legislation.  That power is held by the unelected European Commission.  Nor can MEP's initiate the repeal of legislation.  Their sole reason for existence is to vote YES or NO to the legislation put before them by the bureaucracy.

During my research I discovered a little known fact about MEP voting.  A MEP is able to change their vote after the count.  In fact a number of MEPs have done this on hundreds of occasions.  The MEP just quietly asks for the minutes to subsequently be amended.  The official reason for allowing this is deficiencies within the parliamentary electronic voting system (ie, "I pushed button A but the vote was recorded for button B").  The cynic in me suggest two more likely scenarios.

  1. The MEP votes one way in public to appease their electorate or their colleagues and then subsequently (and quietly) reverses their vote.
  2. After the vote the MEP gets "nobbled", pressured or "bought off" into reversing their vote.

So why would anyone want to be an impotent MEP?  Look at the benefits:
  • ·         Salary - £6537 per month
  • ·         Daily attendance allowance - £250
  • ·         Phone & office expenses allowance £41,000 per year
  • ·         Staff (some employ family) £225,000 per year
  • ·         Low tax rate of 8-24%
  • ·         Pension 3.5% of gross salary after 1 year as an MEP.  On leaving parliament transitional allowance up to 206,664
  • ·         Access to shopping malls for the exclusive use of politicians and EU bureaucrats (no public allowed).

I found the last point particularly interesting.  It was reminiscent of the GUM departmental shop on the side of Red Square established for the exclusive use of the Soviet political hierarchy.

So how many people working for the EU in Brussels earn more than the UK Prime Minister?  Three... Ten.... Fifty.  The actually figure exceeds 10,000   It's little wonder former national politicians want a job in Brussels.

I'm now starting to explore the breadth and effects of EU laws.   


Mike Griffin said...

Thanks, more depressing info about a dreadful 'Gravy Train', still we have a chance for some lucky political 'lottery winner' to be voted in on May 23rd. On a bright front, its Saturday, Bank Holiday weekend, none too warm - I'm off to the boat.

I'm reminded of a tour round Brussels a few years ago, forced on us travellers due to Eurostar delays - the tour guide proudly announced he was showing us our new Parliament Buildings, where all the real decisions were made....much to the chagrin of all the coach passengers......strangely no tips were forthcoming at the end of the tour.

Tom and Jan said...

Mike boating seems great compensation :-)