Monday, 13 October 2008

The EU is upside-down again

I always like to look at things with what I believe to be common sense. Take employment, for example. People need to work to earn a living so there must be a formal legal relationship between employer and employee. That relationship takes the form of a contract. The contract describes the work the employee is required to do, the rate of pay he will receive and many other things beside. A sensible employment contract will also say something about the circumstances in which the contract can be brought to an end. Commonly it will require either party to give a set period of notice and if the contract is for a fixed term you might expect to see a formula for financial compensation if it is brought to an end before that time has expired.

One thing dictated by common sense is that an employee who resigns in order to take a new job elsewhere must then look to his new employer to pay him. But not in the world of the EU.

It is reported that Peter Mandelson will receive £234,000 of taxpayers' money from the EU over the next three years. The figure represents the difference between his salary as a European Commissioner and his new salary as a Cabinet minister in the UK. The only conceivable explanation for this system is that the remuneration of Commissioners was fixed by the old-boys' club of failed and disgraced politicians that rules the EU roost. I chose my words carefully in that sentence, it really is the only conceivable explanation because everything is wrong about it. Five questions come immediately to mind.

First, why is he being paid at all by the EU when he left office voluntarily? It just does not make sense.

Secondly, his replacement will be paid the same salary he commanded as a Commissioner. Why does the taxpayer have to pay twice for a Trade Commissioner?

Thirdly, why is he being paid for three years when his appointment was for a five-year term and he had only one year still to go? If they all get an extra two years money when they leave, the position is even more scandalous.

Fourthly, what happens if Labour lose the election which must be held by mid-2010? He will then be out of office. Will his payment be increased by the EU to the full salary he drew as a Commissioner until such time as he finds another job? I have no idea of the answer, but nothing would surprise me.

Fifthly, would the new Commissioner also get a fat pay-off if Gordon calls her back into the cabinet?

To make things worse, this money-for-nothing is in addition to his EU pension. Four years' service as a Commissioner allows him an index-linked pension of £31,000 a year at the age of 65, according to the BBC. This will be in addition to the pension rights he accrued in his years as an MP and his previous stints in government and any enhancement of pension rights which comes with his new role. £31,000 a year when you work for an organisation for only four years is extremely generous and is an indication of just how deep the EU snouts are in the trough. To make things even worse again, the role of Commissioner does not have to be earned on merit, it is in the gift of the Prime Minister.

The exposure of Mr Mandelson's pay-off is a refreshing sign of just how corrupt and self-serving the EU elite has become. Not only jobs for the boys but money-for-nothing and a pension of roughly half an MP's salary even if you cut-and-run. Why do I call it "refreshing"? Because these arrangements were previously hidden from mere mortals who do not have the time or patience to plough through the Rococo EU rule book. Now they are out in the open and we can see yet another example of steaming corruption in the most corrupt political body of modern times.

It is also a fine illustration of how very well suited Mr Mandelson was for a position at the EU high trough.

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