Juncker’s Junkets: Commissioners Spent €500,000 on Travel in Two Months

The eye-watering travel bill racked up by unelected European Commissioners was finally made public today after campaigners waged a three year battle to access their expenses claims. The hard-won disclosure reveals the 28 Commissioners spent almost half a million Euro on visits during the first two months of 2016 alone (the only period for which documents have been released). A dossier of claims submitted by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker includes an astonishing €27,000 bill for a two-day trip to Rome on a private jet. A good wine list no doubt…

Juncker, based in Brussels, also claimed nearly €2000 for a one night trip to Berlin (a single ticket on a budget airline costs around €25 Euro). He even claimed for minor excursions despite his €324,377 (£275,275) salary: he was paid €48 in ‘daily allowances’ to attend a meeting in Germany with Martin Schulz. Wonder what that went on…

The data, which can be viewed thanks to a campaign led by Access Info Europe, shows the Commissioners enjoyed 261 official trips in January and Feburary 2016. Britain’s former Commissioner Jonathan Hill spent €422 on food and drink and €1017 on hotels during a two day trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Tax-payer funded extravagances included splurging on ‘air taxis’ – chartered planes – by foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, who spent €75,000 in a single trip to Azerbaijan. Christos Stylianides, the commissioner for humanitarian aid, claimed €11,000 for a trip to Somalia and Turkey. Makes a change from using planes owned by lobbyists…

Despite the embarrassing release, the Commission still has the brass neck to resist further disclosures covering the remainder of 2016, saying this would impose an “excessive administrative burden”. For three years the EU has tried to block transparency on Commissioners’ expenses at every turn. Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe, said:

“Giving 120 requesters only two months’ worth of expenses data is a token gesture…The real cost here is not the cost of processing data, but rather it’s the cost to the credibility of and trust in the European Commission when it refuses to publish basic information about the spending of taxpayers’ funds.”

Thankfully the British taxpayer will no longer be funding Juncker’s junkets…


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