Member of the European Parliament Marc Botenga (PVDA) complains that taxpayers threaten to pay for the “grab pensions” of his colleagues. “It concerns pensions up to 13,700 euros per month,” says Botenga. “Should the taxpayer pay for this?” The issue concerns a special pension fund for MEPs that is in danger of going bankrupt. It could possibly be saved with tax dollars.
PVDA, De Morgen, Investigate Europe
The website ‘Investigate Europe‘ came out with the story that an old pension fund of the European Parliament is in danger of collapsing. This fund guarantees the pension of 900 former and current members of parliament. Among them also fanatical Eurosceptics such as the British Nigel Farage.
Without a rescue operation, the fund will be empty in 2025 at the latest. Only a bailout can save the pension fund. In practice, this would mean that the bill of 308 to 313 million euros would end up with the European taxpayer.
“Ten times more than a working person”
“The grab fund guarantees hundreds of MEPs a pension of up to 13,700 euros per month,” Marc Botenga (PVDA) argued in the European Parliament. “At the expense of the taxpayer. After only twenty years of career. About ten times more than what an ordinary European worker gets after forty years of career.”
In his speech he also specifically targeted Vlaams Belang. Ex-chairman Frank Van Hecke of Vlaams Belang, among others, would receive such a pension. “Always against Europe, except when it is to line your own pockets”, Botenga grumbled. PVDA advocates scrapping the pension fund.
Bart Staes, who sat for the Greens in the European Parliament for 20 years, says this problem has been brewing for decades. “It is a scandal that this has not been resolved all this time,” it sounds in De Morgen.
Expenses greater than income
The pension fund, which is very generous, was probably set up with good intentions in 1991, when MEPs did not yet have their own statute and were paid by their national parliament. The mutual differences between members of parliament were then very large, some received almost no compensation. The problem, however, is that from the start, the expenditure of the fund was much greater than the income. After all, MEPs first had to contribute to the fund for five and later only two years in order to receive lifelong extra pension afterwards.
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