Ex-European Commissioners, some who have already found new work, are benefiting from an allowance meant to help them back into the market after leaving the EU executive, Brussels has confirmed.
Among the 16 are the Maltese former Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg, who has moved to a public affairs consultancy network. The Irish former Single Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has joined the supervisory board of the airline Ryanair.
A Commission spokesman explained the modulations of the more than ten thousand euro per month pay buffer. Michael Mann said: “The way it works is that they get this payment for three years after they leave the Commission. If they get another job, then, if the salary of the new job added to this allowance takes them above what they were earning as a commissioner, then the allowance is cut. So there are possibilities for the allowance to be cut. If they have a job which is extremely well-paid, they don’t get an allowance at all. That’s the way the system works.”
The non-governmental organisation ALTER-EU has launched an online petition calling for changes to the system, which for 36 months guarantees ex-commissioners 40-65 percent of the more than 20,000-euro-per-month pay they got while in the Brussels job.
Yiorgos Vassalos, with ALTER-EU, said: “It’s an indication that the Commission is not seriously inquiring into what are the new jobs of its ex-members, and it doesn’t even do that in order to see whether they have to give the remuneration or not.”
The European Commission has a code of conduct, and there is talk of revising it to take into account some of the criticism.