Following David Cameron’s criticism – at the EU summit two weeks ago – of the salaries paid to eurocrats, the Brussels correspondent of the Daily Telegraph reports that the top salary for an EU civil servant is 16,919 a month compared to 25,000 a month in the UK [here's the link, scroll to 10.15].
Moreover EU civil servants work 37.5 hours a week, soon to be 40, compared to just 36 hours for civil servants in Blighty. And to cap it all a top earning UK civil servant gets a pension of 75% of final salary compared to 70% for his EU counterpart.
I find it indefensible that a top EU civil servant earns nearly three times as much as an MEP and more than a prime minister; but I am pleased that Cameron has been exposed (and by the Torygraph!) for letting his prejudice get the better of checking his facts.
The 27 energy ministers met on Monday to discuss the functioning of energy markets and boosting green energy. They asked the Commission to bring forward proposals for a support scheme for green energy. They also asked for more work to be done on the potential of renewable energies for heating and cooling
Finance ministers met on Tuesday to try to reach agreement on a bank supervision system. MEPs agreed it last week in committee, but the national government ministers were unable to. The plan is for the European Central Bank to hive off monetary supervision from budget surveillance, which does not require a change to the EU’s treaties. On the other issues on their agenda – the pooling of some sovereign debt and the boosting of bank capital requirements there appeared to be more common ground. They also approved a draft agreement with Parliament on giving the EU’s anti fraud office, OLAF, greater investigatory powers.
Hermann van Rompuy, who chairs the European Councils (the heads of state and government summits) made a speech in Brussels opposing the idea mooted by eleven EU foreign ministers of electing directly the President of the European Commission. I imagine he fears it would downgrade his office.
An appeal was launched in the EP by 200 associations supported by the European Women’s Lobby for the total abolition of prostitution in Europe. Staistical data suggests that three of every four people ‘trafficked’ in the new slave trade are brought to the EU for sexual exploitation.
I write this email from Doha, where I arrived yesterday for the final fringe meetings around the 18th conference of the countries gathered together in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Tomorrow I chair a conference of MPs from around the world to discuss how to take forward the government ministers’ conclusions. I came across an interesting statistic here: China accounts for 7.2 tons of CO2 emissions per capita, the EU 7.5, Russia 12.8 and the USA 17.3.
Among my activities in Brussels earlier in the week I met NFU chairman Peter Kendall, in Brussels to discuss TB control, and Chinese human rights defender Yang Jian-li, formerly a Tiananmen Square protester and political prisoner. I also realised I had forgotten to report that congratulations are due to Bristol City Council for winning an award in this year’s EU eco-management and audit scheme. Well done Bristol!