EU farce: MEPs could keep £298 daily allowance while working from home due to coronavirus

The institution’s top bosses will decide whether they will retain the lump sum that is meant to cover hotel bills and meals while working in either Brussels and Strasbourg. The £97,500-a-year politicians usually have to sign a pyschial register before being able to claim for their so-called “per diem”. But with the EU Parliament set to hold an emergency session today, MEPs have been warned to stay at home to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Officials have put in place plans to allow them to vote remotely on three key proposals put forward by Ursula von der Leyen’s European Commission to combat the global pandemic.

Senior MEPs on the Parliament’s top secret decision-making body will now decide on whether they should retain their lavish expenses, European sources have revealed.

According to the EU Observer website, Polish MEP Karol Karksi, from the European and Conservatives Reformist group, supports the effort to keep the “per diem” payments.

He wants the cash to cover expenses like outstanding hotel books that had been made before the coronavirus shutdown.

A source told “Some members are requesting it but the daily allowances are for people with special costs for coming to Parliament – the rules do not cover if they stay at home.”

Email votes have now been sanctioned until July 31 as part of the Parliament’s efforts to halt the spread of the deadly disease.

But Parliament President David Sassoli is said to be against MEPs retaining their expenses.

Privately, he has argued they should only be afforded the luxury payments when conducting business in either Brussels or Strasbourg, and not their homes.

MEPs are already handed lump General Expenditure Allowance of £4,147 to cover the costs off their office on top of their monthly salary of £6,321, after taxes.

Parliamentary officials have made recent exceptions to allow MEPs to keep their daily subsistence payments since the institution shut its doors.

MEPs that were forced to self-isolate, after showing symptoms or catching coronavirus, in Belgium were handed the daily fee without having to sign in.

A spokeswoman added: “For MEPs who had arrived in Brussels but were not able to go back to their home countries, they had an exception for last week when they were receiving their per diem.

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“But, as of Monday, MEPs had to come and show they are working in Parliament if they want to receive their per diem, because its linked to presence and activity.”

Catalonian separatist Carpes Puigdemont, who was recently sworn in as an MEP, has called on the Parliament to use their expenses to “obtain medical devices and equipment”.

In a letter to Mr Sassoli, he claimed £8.1 million could be donated if MEPs opted to shrink their General Expenditure Allowance by half.

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“Our offices will reduce their activity significantly. For this reason, we suggest all deputies to use the General Expenditure Allowance to obtain medical devices and equipment.

“If all MEPs would dedicate 50 percent of their GEA during the coming three months, that would represent nine million euros to acquire this really needed material.”

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