The European Union has been accused of “unacceptable greed” after reports emerged that Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk will receive roughly £440,000 (€493,992) in “golden goodbyes” as their fixed term appointments expire this year, according to the Daily Mail.
Tusk, who succeeded Herman Van Rompuy as President of the European Council in December 2014, is poised to pocket £288,000 (€323,276) for a “transitional allowance”, while Juncker, who has served as European Commission President since 1 November 2014, will allegedly receive £144,000 (€161,621).
Sixty-four-year-old Juncker’s payment is said to be lower because he reaches pensionable age half-way through the two-year payout period – he turns 66 in December 2020.
The presidents of the European Commission and European Council are in general expected to receive 50 percent of their existing monthly salary, which is reportedly £24,000 (roughly €27,000), every month for two years after leaving office.
The duo is entitled to the payments, which begin the day after the Eurocrats step down, even if they secure new jobs, but the amount may be reduced if other revenues combined with these “golden goodbyes” surpass their current salary, according to the media outlet.
“Such payments and expensive privileges smack of an arrogant level of unacceptable greed. People will rightly wonder if their actions show a policy of ‘I’m alright Jack’ permeating through the EU”, Tory member Iain Duncan Smith was cited as saying by the Daily Mail.
Duncan Smith was apparently not alone in condemning the lavish payments: Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg blasted the EU, saying that the revelation is another reason not to pay a £39 billion (approximately €44 billion) Brexit divorce bill to the 28-member bloc.
“It seems odd to have ‘golden goodbyes’ for people in a fixed-term job. It is another example of EU extravagance paid for in part by the British taxpayer. It’s even more reason not to hand over the £39 billion willy-nilly”, Rees-Mogg said, according to the Daily Mail.
The European Union has, for its part, reportedly defended the payments, saying that they ensure “a certain level of financial security until their next paid employment”.
The news has caused quite a stir on social media as well, with one user suggesting that the £39 billion Brexit bill will be spent on “feathering the nests of the EU elite”:
Isn't it nice to know what your £39billion is being spent on.— Mike Allen (@allenmike734) 14 июня 2019 г.
Feathering the nests of the EU elite !
Anger over £440,000 'golden goodbye' payments to EU top dogs Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk https://t.co/U7bvJgpLnQ
Many others savaged the bloc and the Eurocrats, dismissing them as “parasites” and calling the payment system a “Ponzi scheme”:
Parasites. Hopefully their Ponzi scheme is about to collapse !— Phil (@PhilArnold4) 14 июня 2019 г.
Why?— WFC (@wheatfrom) 13 июня 2019 г.
They had fixed terms. Who gets a payoff for leaving at the end of a fixed term?
What incompetent idiot would draft an employment contract which gave a payoff to someone whose fixed term contract had come to an en ... oh!
That's absolutely OUTRAGEOUS.— Kate Stewart (@KateStewart22) 13 июня 2019 г.
Shocking...it's just not enough?— Kirk W Smith (@kwsmithwriter) 13 июня 2019 г.
It's nice to know our hard earned cash is going to a good cause. 😠— Keith for democracy. (@keithdahacker) 14 июня 2019 г.
What justification is there for ‘golden goodbye' payments of nearly €500,000 of EU taxpayer’s money to Jean-Claude Juncker & Donald Tusk when they stand down later this year? I’m so fed up having my taxes spent on, retirement funds for greedy, immoral, elitist ‘politicians’. 😡— Patricia Scanlan (@patriciascanl18) 13 июня 2019 г.
The reports come amid speculation as to who will replace Juncker when he stands down in November, with Manfred Weber, head of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission, and Guy Verhofstadt, chief Brexit representative for the European parliament, among the main candidates.