Story from Die Zeit in English below, or in full in German attached. (3 november 20126)
Former EU commissioners receive transitional allowance in addition to top salaries in business
Despite the fact that many of them already hold lucrative top level positions in politics and the economy, 16 former EU commissioners of the Barroso commission still receive high transitional allowances from Brussels. This fact emerges from a list which the EU commission had to transmit to the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT. The issuance of the list had been refused by the commission for weeks. It was not until DIE ZEIT suggested the possibility of bringing legal action before the European Court of Justice that the authorities in Brussels provided the list of names of the beneficiaries of the transitional payments to the editorial department.
According to the list, 16 former members of the Commission under President José Manuel Barroso that resigned in 2014 still receive a transitional allowance of at least 99 996 euros per annum – in addition to the income from their new employment. Among others the names include former Belgian Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht who – corresponding to DIE ZEIT’s calculations – is entitled to receive almost 125 000 Euros in transitional payments per annum. Former Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard also earns double. As do Romania’s Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș and EU-delegate Janusz Lewandowski – former Commissioners for Agriculture as well as Financial Programming and Budget – who increase their allowances with the interim payments. Short-term Commissioners Ferdinando Nelli Feroci and Jacek Dominik are also on the list.
The transitional allowances were passed in 1967. They allow for retired commissioners to obtain 40 to 60 percent of their former base salary of minimum 20 832 euros per month for up to three years. The bonus was meant to prevent commissioners from concluding agreements with enterprises and subsequently changing sides towards the end of their term of office out of concern for their future. They are meant to allow politicians to distance themselves from Brussels – to “cool down” as Brussels jargon calls it.