The outrage is enormous: now taxpayers also have to fund huge salary increases for EU workers of as much as 8.5%. For the lowest EU incomes, this means a monthly increase of 260 euros. Ursula von der Leyen will receive a generous sum: she can look forward to an extra 2,483 euros per reports.

Salaries for EU officials are already plentiful. There are 16 salary levels, and from the tenth level one can look forward to a monthly gross salary of more than 10,000 euros. Even an Austrian member of the National Council does not earn that much. But now it gets even worse: because wages have to adjust to inflation, workers in the EU can expect a pay increase of as much as 8.5 percent!

There is already criticism from Member States. Millions of citizens are already groaning under the record prices for energy and food. The wage increases for EU workers will cost them hundreds of millions more in taxes – and they will hardly understand that.

Big pay increase already in 2021

Already in the past year, EU workers received a hefty wage increase. Their salaries were increased by 1.9 percent (ER: this isn’t ‘hefty’, more in line with inflation, barely) retroactively to 1 July at the end of 2021, according to a report from the EU Commission. The lowest basic salary of an EU official then rose from EUR 3,000 to EUR 3,057 per month. The highest base salary increased by 400 euros to 21,163 euros per month (excluding bonuses). For the taxpayer, this meant extra costs of more than 200 million euros per year, calculated the Bild.

The salary increases that are now on the way will cost a multiple of that amount. Staff in all European institutions will receive the extra 8.5 percent, the Handelsblatt reports, referring to EU diplomats. Wages are based on the development of inflation in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The EU Commissioners and the President of the Commission are doing very well.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) can consider himself very lucky. After her monthly salary had already risen by EUR 545 at the end of 2021 to EUR 29,205 (together with the allowances even to approximately EUR 34,000), her salary is now expected to increase by EUR 2,482.43! That would be a total of 31,687 euros per month (excluding the allowances). (ER: Revelations made around Brexit of what EU MEPs get in terms of allowances are indeed generous.)

The basic salary of an EU Commissioner is EUR 23,809. In the future, that will be 25,833 euros (+2,024 euros). Even the lowest income classes (3,057 euros per month) can count on an extra 260 euros!

Frustration among Member States

The member states are also displeased: the wage increase is provided for by law, but politically difficult to explain in times of mounting financial worries, they say. A spokesman for the EU Commission pointed out that the member states themselves had agreed to the “annual salary adjustment”. The adjustment is the result of a decision by the European Parliament and the Council in 2013. It aims to “ensure that the purchasing power of EU officials develops at the same pace as that of national officials” in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Criticism is already coming from the FDP

FDP politician Moritz Körner announced: “We will have to look at this more closely in the budget negotiations.” The exact size of the salary increase will not be announced until the end of 2022. But there are already heated discussions in Brussels. In the body of EU ambassadors, several member states have expressed their frustration this week.

As early as 2013, German MP Frank Schäffler (FDP) had initiated a salary debate on the salaries of EU officials: About 4,400 of the total 46,000 EU officials earn more money per month than the German Chancellor, he calculated.