As a Member of Parliament, I have parliamentary immunity, which in the framework of my mandate, protects me from criminal but not civil, prosecution. Immunity makes sure that Parliament can function, but it can be revoked by the plenum of the Parliament. Parliamentary immunity is regulated within the ‘Protocol of privileges and exemptions of the European Communities’. Just like anybody else, I have to pay parking tickets and pay attention to the number of points I have on my driving licence.
Remuneration of the Members of Parliament:
Just like the Members of the German Bundestag, the German Members of the European Parliament receive an allowance, i.e. a monthly salary. Since 2009, the joint regulation of the Council and the European Parliament has stipulated that the revenue a Member of Parliament receives should correspond to 38.5% of the income of a judge at the European Court of Justice. Therefore, the allowance of a Member of Parliament amounts currently to €8643.25 a month.
The monthly secretarial allowance amounts to €21,379. I have hired an external tax consultancy, which manages this allowance, certifies it with the European Parliament and pays my employees in Potsdam and Brussels.
General reimbursement of costs:
Members of the European Parliament receive a ‘general reimbursement of costs’ which currently amounts to approximately €4300 a month tax-free. This sum is used to pay for my office in Potsdam, office materials and PR as well as ongoing business expenses. As part of my work in my constituency, I drive about 20,000kms a year around Brandenburg. I get reimbursed for essential expenses on presentation of corresponding receipts.
Travel expenses for flights and participation in meetings of the European Parliament are reimbursed by the Parliament on presentation of corresponding receipts. The reimbursement of my travel expenses is aligned to the actual costs with certain limits applying:
- For flights: a maximum amount for the actual costs depending on the distance between my place of residence and the respective meeting venue of the Parliament;
- For journeys by car: an amount of €0.50/km
Members of the European Parliament receive approximately €300 for each day that they work in Brussels or Strasburg. This is to cover my costs for living away from home and for hotel accommodation. As my family and I live in Potsdam, the 40 weeks or so a year of parliamentary work spent in Brussels and Strasbourg are business trips for me. Consequently, I stay overnight when I have to attend sessions or meetings in one of these locations.
Code of Conduct of the European Parliament:
The Code of Conduct for Members of the European Parliament came into effect on 1 January 2012. It determines that the Members of Parliament work for the benefit of the public and in accordance with the principles of altruism, integrity, transparency, diligence, honesty, responsibility and the protection of the good reputation of the Parliament. The Code of Conduct also obliges us to publish a detailed statement of our financial interests. (click here for download: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/de/28226/CHRISTIAN_EHLER_declarations.html), even though in my case there are only activities listed which are not connected to any financial interests or additional income. I don’t have any other income. The fees for my book will be donated.
More information on the Code of Conduct can be found on the website of the European Parliament.