Office lump sum
The office lump sum or so-called General Expense Allowance is mainly used to maintain and equip my offices. The money also covers the costs of events and other expenses related to the performance of my mandate. I have up to EUR 4,513 per month at my disposal. There is no control from the administration of the European Parliament. However, the Greens/EFA Group has introduced internal transparency guidelines to ensure that the money is used for the intended purpose. I have been disclosing my expenditure since the beginning of my mandate. They can be seen in the diagram above.
Flat rate for personnel costs
Monthly I have EUR 25.442 (2020) at my disposal for personnel expenses. From this amount I pay the salaries of my parliamentary assistants and trainees in Brussels as well as salaries and other employer contributions for my local assistants in Rostock and Schwerin. In addition, I pay a legally required paying agent who takes care of the payment of my local assistants. This budget is managed and controlled by the administration of the European Parliament.
Public relations budget
Each member of the European Parliament has an annual budget for public relations work. In the case of the Greens/EFA group, this money is managed by the group. Part of the budget goes directly to the group’s communication department. The other part is available to members for their individual public relations work. Members of the group have to account for how the money is used. I have EUR 59,877 (2020) at my disposal every year to bring my political work to the public. I have also financed this website with this money.
The remuneration for Members of the European Parliament before taxes and charges currently amounts to EUR 8,932.86. After deduction of an EU tax and the health insurance contribution, the remaining amount is EUR 6,962.95. This amount is subject to renewed taxation in Germany. It is also common practice at Bündnis 90/Die Grünen that all office holders donate 19 percent of their gross salary to the party. For members of the European Parliament, this amounts to EUR 1,697.24 per month. I have no secondary employment or any additional income.
Members of the European Parliament receive a flat rate allowance of EUR 323 for each official working day of the Parliament on which they are present in Brussels or Strasbourg. From this money I pay the additional expenses due to my two residences in Rostock and Brussels as well as business trips that cannot be reimbursed from the travel budget (see below). In my opinion, however, the daily allowance is far too high and should be reduced. Nobody has EUR 323 extra expenditure per day to spend the night in Brussels or Strasbourg.
Most meetings of the European Parliament take place in Brussels or Strasbourg. Members are reimbursed for the actual cost of their travel to and from these places on presentation of supporting documents. In addition, they receive a flat rate allowance to cover other travel expenses (e.g. freeway tolls, excess baggage or reservation fees), determined according to the distance and duration of the journey. The exercise of parliamentary activities also involves frequent travel, for example for working visits or participation in conferences. Travel and accommodation costs can be reimbursed up to a maximum annual amount of EUR 4,503. Moreover, as a German Member I also receive free 1st class Bahncards100 for the German as well as the Belgian Rail.