A mandate in the European Parliament pays off. Income, retirement provision and privileges seem tempting. But hard-working MPs also have to put in a lot of effort.

David McAllister (CDU) was lucky: he was given a tablet. Hannah Neumann (Greens) didn’t have it so well, she only received a replica of a building facade, and it also had a crack. The MP conscientiously entered the defect in the European Parliament’s gift register, along with the note: The value of the gift from the Islamic World League was probably less than 150 euros. Neumann’s colleague McAllister, then chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, assessed the value of the attention of a politician from Bahrain as higher.

Both items, together with numerous other gifts such as more or less tasteful decorative bowls, commemorative medals and statues, rest in the care of the Parliamentary Presidency. MEPs are only allowed to keep gifts given to them in the exercise of their mandate in exceptional cases if they are worth less than 150 euros.

In fact, European parliamentarians are by no means dependent on gifts to make ends meet. You have been entitled to monthly salary of 10,075.18 euros since July 1, 2023. An EU tax and an insurance contribution are deducted from this, leaving 7,853.89 euros that can still be taxed in the parliamentarians’ countries of origin. Special regulations apply to some MPs who have been members of Parliament for more than 13 years. Members of the Parliamentary Presidium have the same salary as all other MPs, but are allowed to employ one or a maximum of two more assistants.

In addition to the salary, there is a “general cost reimbursement” of 4,950 euros per month, which is intended for office expenses. In general, only parliamentarians who attend at least half of the plenary sessions in a year receive the full amount. Most MPs have a maximum of 28,696 euros per month available for employee salaries, but they do not receive the money themselves. In the offices of members of the Executive Committee, higher total amounts for assistant salaries may apply. The Parliament provides its members with equipped offices in both Brussels and Strasbourg.

MPs can claim their travel expenses to parliamentary meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg, first class by train or business class by plane; Anyone who uses a private car gets 58 cents per kilometer (but only up to a maximum of 1,000 kilometers).

There are also further billing options for travel expenses within and outside your home country. The maximum limit for reimbursement of the costs of trips abroad is 4,886 euros in 2024. There is also a right to a “daily allowance” which is intended to cover the costs of accommodation and meals during the plenary weeks. This involves a sum of 350 euros per official working day of Parliament – provided there is an entry in the attendance list.

You also have to take part in at least half of the roll-call votes in order to receive the full amount of money. Meetings outside the EU entitle you to 175 euros per day plus the cost of hotel accommodation. In Brussels and Strasbourg, you are entitled to travel in Parliament’s official vehicles “for official business”.

Upon request, MEPs can request transport from Brussels to Strasbourg during the sitting weeks. According to parliamentary information, an average of 25 vehicles are on the road. High-ranking officials, dignitaries and special guests of Parliament can also be chauffeured. Overall, an average of around 70 cars are in use every month.

Their own company cars are permanently available to the President of Parliament and the parliamentary group leaders. For all other MPs, priority is given to driving back and forth between Parliament and train stations or airports. In addition, there are transports within a radius of 20 kilometers from the parliament buildings. “A permit and a technical report are required for other journeys,” said a parliamentary spokesman when asked by FOCUS online. The company cars remained in the garage at night. No driver is allowed to drive it home.

The EU parliamentarians receive two thirds of their medical expenses reimbursed. If European politicians leave the EU Parliament, they are entitled to a transition allowance. It amounts to one monthly salary per year of membership. Payments last for a maximum of two years. Anyone who takes up another parliamentary mandate or public office receives as much less as they earn in their new role.

Members of the European Parliament can retire at the age of 63. If you decide to retire, you will not receive any transitional benefit. For each year of their mandate, they currently receive 3.5 percent of their salary as a pension. The total may not exceed 70 percent.

For comparison: Members of the Bundestag receive a monthly so-called “member’s allowance”, which is subject to income tax. From July 1, 2024 it will be 11,227.20 euros. In addition, there is a tax-free allowance of 5,051.54 euros.

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Members of the Bundestag are granted 25,874 euros per month for staff and 12,000 euros per year for office supplies. As in the European Parliament, the accounting and payment of staff salaries is the responsibility of the administrative apparatus. Members of the Bundestag are entitled to a furnished office and are allowed to use official vehicles within the Berlin city area. They have a free train ticket and are reimbursed for travel expenses incurred on business.

Members of Parliament can decide whether, like civil servants, they choose subsidies for their health and nursing care insurance or have half of their contributions to statutory or private nursing care insurance replaced. The Bundestag also has a transitional allowance to support a return to work after being a member of parliament. It is an amount equal to the previous monthly compensation and is paid for one month each year in Parliament, for a total period not exceeding 18 months.

In retirement, for which the target age is 67 according to a step-by-step plan, former German MPs are not allowed to receive more than 65 percent of their previous salaries. For each year in parliament, 2.5 percent is charged. Contributions to statutory pension insurance are not paid during the mandate period. After the death of an ex-MP, his relatives can receive a “bridging allowance”. It corresponds to a monthly diet payment. If the deceased was a member of the Bundestag for more than eight years or two legislative periods, this value increases to one and a half.

Whether the costs for parliamentary work at the EU level are to be assessed as higher than those of the Bundestag depends on the calculation basis chosen. It should be taken into account that MEPs generally have higher travel costs than their colleagues in the Berlin Bundestag, often attend more meetings and individually represent more voters.