A mandate in the European Parliament pays off. Income, pension plans and privileges are all 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) was not so well off, she only received a replica of a building facade, and it also had a crack. The MEP conscientiously entered the defect in the gift register of the European Parliament, together with the note: Value of the gift from the Islamic World League probably less than 150 euros. Neumann’s colleague McAllister, chairman of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, appreciated the importance of a Bahraini politician’s attention.

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

In fact, MEPs are by no means dependent on gifts to make ends meet. You are entitled to monthly salaries of 9,386.29 euros. An EU tax and an insurance contribution are deducted from this, so that 7,316.63 euros remain, which can still be taxed in the parliamentarians’ countries of origin. Special rules apply to some MPs who have been members of Parliament for more than 13 years. Members of the parliamentary presidency have the same salary as all other members of parliament, but may employ one or a maximum of two more assistants.

In addition to the remuneration, there is a “general cost allowance” of EUR 4,778 per month, which is intended for office expenses. In general, however, only parliamentarians who attend at least half of the plenary sessions in a year receive the full amount. Most MPs have 26,734 euros per month to pay for employees, but they do not receive the money themselves. Offices of Governing Board members may incur higher totals for assistant salaries. Parliament provides its members with equipped offices in both Brussels and Strasbourg.

MEPs can claim their travel expenses to Parliament meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg, first class by train or business class by plane; if you use a private car, you get 56 cents per kilometer (but only up to a maximum of 1,000 kilometers).

There are also other accounting options for travel expenses within and outside the home country. The maximum limit for reimbursement of the costs of trips abroad is 4,716 euros. There is also an entitlement to a “daily allowance” intended to cover the costs of accommodation and meals during the plenary weeks. This is about a sum of 338 euros per official working day of Parliament – provided there is an entry in the attendance list.

You also have to have participated in at least half of the roll-call votes to receive the full amount of money. Sessions outside the EU entitle you to 169 euros per day plus the cost of hotel accommodation. In Brussels and Strasbourg there is a right to travel in Parliament’s official vehicles “for official business”.

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Upon request, MEPs can request transport from Brussels to Strasbourg during the weeks of the session. According to Parliament, an average of 25 vehicles are on the road. High officials, dignitaries and special guests of Parliament can also be chauffeured. On average, around 70 wagons are in use every month.

The President of Parliament and the parliamentary group leaders have their own company cars at their disposal on a permanent basis. For all other MEPs, priority is given to driving them 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. “For other trips, a permit and a technical report are required,” said a parliamentary spokesman at the request of FOCUS online. The company cars stayed in the garage at night. No driver is allowed to drive home with it.

The EU parliamentarians get two thirds of their expenses for medical care reimbursed. If European politicians leave the EU Parliament, they are entitled to a transitional allowance. It is one month salary per year of membership. The payments run for a maximum of two years. Anyone who takes up another parliamentary mandate or public office gets as much less as they earn in the new task.

Members of the European Parliament can retire at the age of 63. If they decide to retire, they will not receive a transitional allowance. 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 Compensation”, which is subject to income tax. It is currently 10,323.29 euros. In addition, there is a tax-free expense allowance of EUR 4,583.39.

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Members of the Bundestag are granted 23,205 euros per month for employees and 12,000 euros per year for office supplies. As in the European Parliament, the accounting and payment of employee salaries is a matter for the administrative apparatus. The members of the Bundestag have the right to a furnished office and may use official vehicles in the Berlin city area. You have a free train ticket and are reimbursed for business travel expenses.

Members of Parliament can decide whether, like civil servants, they choose the allowance for their health and long-term care insurance or have half of their contributions to statutory or private long-term care insurance replaced. The Bundestag also has a transitional allowance to support a return to work after being a member of parliament. It is set at one month at the previous monthly allowance per year in Parliament and paid for no more than 18 months.

In retirement, for which an age of 67 is the target according to a phased plan, the German ex-MPs may not receive more than 65 percent of their previous salaries. For every year in Parliament, 2.5 percent accrue. Contributions to the statutory pension insurance are not paid during the term of office. After the death of an ex-MP, his family can receive a “bridging allowance”. It is equivalent to a monthly diet payment. If the deceased was an MP (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 EU level are higher than those of the Bundestag depends on the basis of calculation chosen. It should be borne in mind that MEPs generally have higher travel expenses than their colleagues in the Berlin Bundestag, often attend more sessions and also represent more voters individually.