One of the reasons that Britain is being bullied into paying the EU billions for decades to come is because the British taxpayer is being expected to fund the MEPs unfunded pension scheme.
Yesterday I attended the Annual General Meeting of the MEP Pension Fund in Brussels.
After the Report and Accounts were discussed we moved on to the Questions and Answers session, which was most illuminating.
Prior to 2009 the MEPs contributed to the pension fund from their salaries. After the elections in 2009 the new ‘Members Statute’ was adopted. MEPs no longer have to contribute to their pensions – it is ‘free’ to MEPs, and paid for by the taxpayers out of the budget.
This is what I gleaned from the Q&A session.
- The funds in the pre-2009 fund are ‘shrinking’. The fund will be wound-up and the European Parliament will guarantee theses pensions after 2019. For practical reasons this won’t happen until about 2021/2022.
- There are currently about 700ex-MEPs drawing the pension; there are about 200 ex-MEPs who are waiting to draw the pension when they reach aged 63; and about 70 sitting MEPs who will be eligible to draw the pension when they retire (minimum age 63).
- It was clearly stated that, ‘the legal obligation to pay the pension of MEPs and Parliament staff falls on the European Union and not the Member States’. Britain has no legal obligationto pay the pensions of ex-MEPs.
- MEPs may have their pension paid in any member state where they can prove they have a bank account. The issue of ‘shopping around for the best tax deal’ was discussed. Some Member States have lower or no tax rates on pensions. It was pointed out that retirees who drew their pension in another member state would still have to comply with their own national law, but as one MEP sitting on the board remarked, “but don’t forget the eleventh commandment, ‘don’t get caught’.”
- A French MEP voiced concern that the Parliament might renege on its pre-2009 commitment to take on the liability to pay the pensions. This is a paraphrase of what she said: ‘in 2014 a lot of euro-sceptics were elected, we might see a lot more elected in 2019. We don’t know what they might decide to do’.That MEP would like the Parliament to take on the liability now, in case a new Parliament changes its mind post-2019, but she was reassured that it could not.
MEPs get a fantastic pension not available in the real world. Those sitting since 2009 don’t even have to contribute to it. The UK taxpayer has no legal obligation to pay these pensions but the MEPs, the Parliament, and the EU expect British taxpayers to go on paying for it for decades to come.
The EU and Mrs May are taking the British taxpayers for mugs. Just so that you know what your £50 billion will be paying for.
Note: Gerard Batten MEP is on the same salary and contributory pension scheme as UK MPs. In 2009 he chose to remain on those terms. He did contribute to the European Parliament’s Additional Voluntary Pension Scheme (2004-2009). But he rejected membership of the non-contributory MEP pension scheme in 2009.