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Europe

Taxpayers Foot Huge EU Presidency Bill

Irish taxpayers are set to pay €500,000 for every day of the Irish Presidency while The Netherlands, which is next up at the EU helm, is searching hard for business sponsorship to offset costs.

The six-month EU Presidency, which puts the particular member state under the glare of a political and media spotlight, also brings enormous costs. Ireland, which holds the EU Presidency for the first half of this year, is no exception. The Irish Independent reports that the presidency will cost Irish taxpayers around €500,000 for every day it remains at the EU helm, for a total well above €90 million. While around €23 million was spent on preparations last year and €60 million has been allocated this year, this is not the final sum as some of the Irish government departments have yet to say how much they are set to spend. To ensure a smooth stint at the head of the EU, Ireland doubled the number of people working at its Representation to the EU from 80 to 160 people. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, which takes over the EU Presidency directly after Ireland for the remainder of the year, is having problems of its own. According to De Volksrant newspaper, the Dutch government is having difficulty finding business sponsorship for its EU Presidency. ( EUobserver.com)