In January 2013 I stumbled upon Polish MEPs employing a lot of assistants. One employed 19 people, and two employed 17 each back then. The blog entry about that is here, and it was even covered by Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
Today the issue has been raised once more, as MEPs’ assistants have once more been a hot topic, and I have once more been quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza for the work 2 years ago. The new article even alleges that Kaczynski‘s hairdresser is being employed on the EP payroll.
Anyway, I decided to re-run my experiment from then for the new EP term. The results are actually worse:
- Total numbers of assistants employed has risen by 60 from 461 to 521
- Total numbers of local assistants (i.e. in Poland) has risen by 68 from 362 to 430
- Once more 1 MEP employs 19 assistants (Czesław Adam SIEKIERSKI – EPP) and this time two employ 18 each (Ryszard CZARNECKI – ECR (up from 17 in 2013!) and Kosma ZŁOTOWSKI – ECR)
This is the summary of the results:
Numbers of assistants employed in Brussels / Strasbourg has decreased slightly, and the MEPs listed top in 2013 – Ryszard Legutko – has reduced his assistants to just 14 (from 19). The European Conservatives & Reformists Group (containing Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS)) has the highest number of assistants per MEP.
The statistics have been compiled simply by going to the biography of each MEP on the European Parliament website, and totalling up the number of assistants listed. All data correct as of 17th March 2015, and entire Excel table, including the names of all the assistants employed, can be found here.
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: you are welcome to quote this piece, but if anything is unclear all you need to do is contact me or tweet me. Better that than assuming things!
Wages are lower in PL than in Western Europe, but the staff allocation is the same for all MEPs. Thus, it is in principle possible for MEPs to employ this amount of assistent, maybe on a part time basis. The question is probably less about money and more about accreditation/status.
All very interesting. Those are the figures – do you know what’s actually going on here? How do salaries or staff costs relate to numbers employed? Are there some benefits to being merely employed, even on very low salaries?