Belfast Telegraph

EU Election 2019

MEPs to earn £30,000 plus expenses for four months’ work... if Brexit happens in October

From left: Martina Anderson, Naomi Long and Diane Dodds
From left: Martina Anderson, Naomi Long and Diane Dodds
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

Northern Ireland's three MEPs will take up their seats in the new European Parliament in five weeks' time.

Theresa May has abandoned her final attempt to get her withdrawal agreement through Parliament so even the very distant chance of Brexit occurring soon is a non-runner.

Martina Anderson, Diane Dodds and Naomi Long will take up their seats on July 2. Brussels has granted the Prime Minister a Brexit delay up until October 31, so our three MEPs are likely to be in their jobs at least until Halloween.

In those four months they should earn more than £30,000 each in wages. An MEP earns a flat rate of €8,757.70 per month, which at the current exchange rate is around £7,725.73.

They pay EU taxes and an insurance contribution. Their take-home pay is then reduced further by UK income tax and national insurance contributions to ensure they are taxed on a similar basis as people employed in the UK.

On top of their salaries, our three MEPs will also be entitled to a daily allowance of €320 (£282.25). This money is to cover hotel bills and food while they are on official business in Brussels or Strasbourg. MEPs are not asked to provided receipts for their stay.

However, they do sign a register to confirm that they have attended the European Parliament.

Our MEPs will be allowed to claim travel expenses.

If they provide receipts, they will be entitled to a complete refund equating to business class air travel and first class rail travel.

They are also entitled to 47p per km for road travel up to a maximum of 1,000 km.

An MEP's salary is set at 38.5% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice.

The stronger the pound, the less British MEPs will earn. The weaker the pound, the higher their take-home pay. The three local MEPs are part of a 73-strong UK representation that will cease if a Brexit deal is agreed.

Whoever becomes the next Tory leader in July will attempt to reopen negotiations with Brussels.

Any movement before the autumn is highly unlikely.

If the EU refuses to change the agreement it offered Mrs May, then a no-deal Brexit becomes a real possibility.

The Republic will gain two extra seats after Brexit, and will go from having 11 MEPs to 13.

Former SDLP leader Mark Durkan had hoped to be one of the two additional new MEPs, but he did not poll well enough in Dublin for Fine Gael.

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