EU snub: Farage tells Brussels he won’t take a penny of MEPs’ golden goodbye payout

EU snub: Farage tells Brussels he won’t take a penny of MEPs’ golden goodbye payout

The Brexit Party chief is in line to pocket more than £150,000 but has decided to snub the so-called “transitional allowance” offered to parliamentarians who have served for five years or more. He could have walked away from his role as a member of the European Parliament with a pre-tax payout of £152,992, based on his 20 years of service since 1999. Mr Farage said: “I’ll not be taking a penny. The transition payment is for MEPs who will have difficulty finding a new job after they leave the European Parliament. “That particular situation does not apply to me as I have many broadcast opportunities in the pipeline. “I could not in good conscience take the money and therefore I won’t be taking it.”

British MEPs who have served one year or more are allowed to claim at least £45,000 each while they search for a new job.

The “transitional allowance” is handed to parliamentarians under the retirement age of 63 to help cushion blow of losing their £90,000-a-year salaries and all the perks that come with being an MEP.

As long as they have served for at least one year, they will receive a basic rate of at least six months’ pay, capped at up to 24 months’ worth for the longest servers.

Most of the Brexit Party’s members will, however, miss out because they were only elected for the first time last May.

MEPs are meant to give up the generous payout once they find another job.

But EU Parliament officials have no way of restricting payments if MEPs fail to declare their new career, unless it involves moving to a national parliament.

Scottish National Party MP, Alyn Smith, who won a seat in last month’s general election, forfeited a handout of over £100,000, because of his 15 years served in the EU Parliament, after taking his place in the House of Commons.

The total bill for the golden goodbyes is estimated at around £5.3 million, with British taxpayers forced to pick up much of the bill as part of the Brexit divorce bill.

On top of their transition funds, outgoing British MEPs are given £6,000 to cover the costs of closing their offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Long-serving members are also entitled to a pension worth up to 70 percent of their salaries.

Eurocrats briefed Britons of what cash they can expect to receive at a special meeting in Strasbourg last night.

The parliamentarians will be expected to hand back their badges, iPads and laptops all given to them at the beginning of their mandate.

They will also be invited to join the Former Members Association, which allows them future unhindered access to the Parliament’s cut-price gyms, restaurants, and “preferential rates” on hotel bookings.

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They are encouraged to join the club in order to take part in overseas jollies and highbrow dining events with other MEPs.

Ahead of last May’s European elections, mollycoddled MEPs were offered life advice in case they lose their seat.

The so-called “guide to life” handbook was drawn up to help them cope with the pressures of leaving the EU Parliament.

As well as the materialistic benefits that MEPs walk away from, they are handed life advice on how to survive after leaving Brussels.

Five former MEPs talk them through their experiences of leaving the EU institution, while urging departing members to take up new hobbies, go on holiday and “re-engage with your home region”.

Malcolm Harbour, MEP for the West Midlands between 1999-2014, says: “It can be good to re-engage with your home region, in political posts or in other institutions, where your administrative and political skills can be effectively exploited.”

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He adds: “Take a good holiday, make some family time, enjoy your newfound flexibility to plan your life without a rigid calendar established for your year in advance.

“Take up some past hobbies – sports, hiking, music, gardening or painting. You may not get such a great opportunity again.”

Former Spanish MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras, who served between 1999-2014, urged departing members to continue contributing to the “powerhouse of European democracy”.

He said: “Life certainly goes on and other goals and opportunities inevitably arise thanks to the wealth of experience, contacts and knowledge one builds up in this powerhouse of European democracy.

“This can be put to use in countless different occupations in academia, business consulting, social work and career guidance, to name but a few. However, the truth is that it is very difficult for other jobs to top the ambitious vision and broad horizons of the greatest and most ambitious supranational entity of our time.”

Former French MEP Catherine Greze said she could only return to “society” after taking numerous holidays – to Russia, China, Bhutan, France and Germany.

Britons will make their last appearance in the European Parliament on January 29, when MEPs vote on whether to ratify the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Published at Tue, 14 Jan 2020 10:01:00 +0000