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How to Maximise Your Expenses: Advice to new Members of the European Parliament

Page 5 of 5

However, the victories of the last Parliament will need to be repeated if our privileges are to be protected. There will be fresh attempts at ‘reform’, and these will probably again seek to link the issue of pay to that of expenses. Here lies the danger.  Because their pay is at the same rate as that of legislators in their national parliaments the MEPs from ‘New Europe’ - the Czechs, the Poles, Hungarians, Slovakians, the Latvians, Lithuanians,  Estonians and Maltese - will  receive only a fraction of that earned by the top earners - the Italians, the Austrians, the Brits and the Germans.  Being new and naïve they may therefore be tricked into accepting a revived pay and expenses package that equalises salaries but in the end leaves us all worse off.  This is where you can begin to play an important role.  Our Central European friends need to be educated to understand that an attack upon our rights and privileges and a way life that we hold dear is an assault upon the dignity of our office and ultimately upon the European project itself.  I know you will understand that such attempts cannot be allowed to succeed!

Yours sincerely,

Tristan Smithers-Johnson

*The Author

Tristan Smithers-Johnson MEP does not, of course, exist.  He is a literary fiction brought into being in order to describe the real-life behaviour and widely-held attitudes of Members of the European Parliament.

How to Maximise Your Expenses is based on interviews with Members of the European Parliament and their research staff.

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