Exclusive: Huge differences exist between MPs’ salaries and expenses across the EU with some countries paying their parliamentarians ten times more than others, a Euronews investigation has found.
Italian MPs enjoy the highest basic salary in the bloc, earning around 167,000 euros a year, while their Bulgarian counterparts take home just 16,318 euros annually.
Lawmakers from the UK, Italy, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands all earn more than Members of the European Parliament, who take home around 96,000 euros a year.
The figures show a broad east-west divide in the EU, with a strip of eastern states accounting for the bulk of the least well paid representatives.
The best salaries are to be found at the EU’s heart, in Germany, and a central strip spreading out vertically to encompass Austria and Italy.
Further west, in Spain and Portugal, MPs are paid more on a par with eastern Europe than the likes of France, Germany or Italy.
How do MPs’ salaries compare across the EU?
Click on a country for more details.Salaries are gross of tax and annual. Croatia’s figure is net.
How do MPs’ salaries compare to average wages?
The gap in salaries is not explained simply by different costs of living across Europe.
One common theme is that parliamentarians always earn more than the bulk of the people they represent. But discrepancies vary widely.
Italian MPs have a basic salary of around 167,257 euros, which works out as 5.3 times the country’s mean earnings, which stand at 31,680 euros, according to latest Eurostat data (2010).
Bulgaria and the three Baltic states – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – also have high ratios when you compare MPs’ salaries with mean earnings.
Malta and Spain have one of the smallest ratios, with MPs’ salaries just above that of mean wages within their borders.
Spanish MPs living outside of Madrid, however, earn two-thirds of their basic salary (33,768 euros) again in a tax-free lump sum for expenses (21,886).
Slovakia, which has a mid-range ratio of 2.2, links its MP earnings to average salaries.
Euronews asked the Italian parliament for comment on this story, but we are yet to receive a response.
Examine the data
Below are the figures behind this story. Click on a column to re-sort the data and examine it further.Salaries are gross of tax and annual. Croatia’s figure is net.
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