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Europe

European Parliamentarians Fail to Reform Pay System

European parliamentarians failed to reach agreement on reforming their pay system in what is likely to be their last chance before the June elections.

Following an extraordinary meeting of European Parliament group leaders, there was neither the political will nor enough time to forge a deal. "It was felt it was too late to go back to the drawing board", sources told EUobserver. The biggest group in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP), also feels that the matter is now "dead." Both the EPP and the Socialists, were not prepared to move on the issue of parliamentarians' (MEPs) pay and the reform of the allowance system, sources told EUObserver. This means the present opaque expenses system is set to continue whereby MEPs get a lump sum each time they travel to Brussels or Strasbourg, irrespective of the actual cost of the ticket. The smallest groups in the European Parliament are, however, likely to table a joint amendment to be voted on in plenary, with the hope that the expenses system is reformed before the elections in June. MEPs worry that lack of reform of their lavish perk system will reflect badly on them when they face voters during the European Parliament elections in June. It landed back in their lap today because member states failed to reach an agreement on the overall pay system last month - mainly due to objections from Germany. The present pay system, which is now set to continue into the next parliamentary term, means huge discrepancies between deputies. While Italians are the top-earners with around €12,000 ($14,800) per month, their Spanish counterparts earn around €3,000, with Hungarians only getting €800. (EUObserver.com)

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