According to the British press, a recent inquiry by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that the European Commission racked up a bill of over €7.5 million for private jet travel, all over the last five years and all while simultaneously chastising all other Europeans for their own carbon “pollution” in the atmosphere. Similarly, European Commission President Barroso used public European Union funds in order to pay for his €28,000 stay at the New York Peninsula Hotel, while attending the UN Climate Change Conference. Many more “party” details were revealed on the Bureau’s website, which describes, in detail, the expenses of top-tier European officials, including “High Representative” for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton.
The following was uncovered by the Bureau:
- Over €7.5m was spent on private jet travel for Commissioners between 2006-2010.
- President Barroso and eight assistants ran up a bill of €28,000 for a four night stay at the New York Peninsula Hotel, where the delegation stayed in suites costing on average €780 per night.
- The Commission spent over €20,000 between 2008-2010 on gifts, with guest speakers being presented with gifts from the jewelers Tiffany.
- Over €300,000 was spent on events the EU described as “cocktail parties” in 2009. One bill totalled €75,000 for an event subsidised by the EU’s Research Executive Agency in Amsterdam, boasting a “night filled with wonder like no other…state-of-the-art technology, challenging art, combined with trendy cocktails, surprising performances and top DJs”.
The London Guardian followed through:
The examples of commission spending have also drawn criticism from EU parliamentarians in other countries. “It is extremely disappointing to see how easily the commission spends the EU taxpayers’ money on private jet travel and luxury hotels,” said Martin Ehrenhauser, an independent Austrian MEP who helped uncover details of the spending.
The study also showed the continued lack of transparency in how the commission spends its money. More than €42m of transfers to “natural persons” – individuals, whose names the commission keeps private – were found between 2007 and 2009, though these had fallen from €27m in 2008 to just over €1m in 2009.
However, a further €381m was spent on “confidential” activities, which the commission refuses to disclose for security reasons. The degree of confidential spending in 2009 was more than double its 2007 level, at €221m.
The Telegraph also weighed in:
When questioned over the bill, the Commission said that the overspend was considered reasonable due to inflated accommodation costs in New York during the UN General Assembly.
Commissioners and their families also holidayed at luxury resorts in Papua New Guinea and Ghana during 2009.
On one occasion, a delegation of 44 staff was flown to the five-star Palm Garden Resort in Vietnam for an event to “facilitate internal cooperation”.
On top of the £6.6m private jet bill, a further €118,000 was paid for limousines to chauffeur commissioners between official engagements.
Details of the extravagant spending is likely to spark public fury following the Commission’s proposals to levy more than £200 a year from the average British family in direct taxation from 2013.
The significance of this investigation is politically well-timed, especially considering the latest run of EU bailout packages to Greece, Portugal, and the proposed bailout to Spain, which could end up totalling over €500 billion.
Alas, as the EU elites throw parties and luxurious celebrations to promote their own worth, the average citizen of the European Union is still suffering in the one of the harshest economic downturns of the past sixty years. With an average 10% unemployment rate across the EU, rampant bailouts, and continued regulation, many more skeptical eyes are reducing their confidence in Brussel’s ability to cope with the crisis.
With ever-increasing European centralization and integration, what lies ahead for the world’s largest economy? Will economic and policy elites continue to press for Europeanization and harmonization to weaken the blows of the financial crisis? Will the individuals citizens of a sovereign Europe turn within to their own democratic parliaments to disperse the economic centralization imposed by the European Commission? Will the undemocratic and disastrous leviathan known as the European Union face the wrath of the markets and the populace, both waking up to its bloated and mischievous reality? Only time will tell.