Budget hawks in the European Parliament are pushing back against President Martin Schulz’s plan to spend millions of euros per year on a new in-house chauffeur service for MEPs, writes POLITICO. Senior members of the Parliament’s Budgets Committee raised concerns that Schulz has not acted on a resolution passed by MEPs in April directing him to look for a less expensive solution for chauffeuring legislators, a task now handled by external contractors. In a May 31 letter to Schulz, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, the committee’s chairman asked the president to respect the resolution.
MEPs agreed to Schulz’s proposal to set up an in-house limo service that would add an additional €3.7 million to the current €7 million transport budget, but asked that other alternatives — including finding another contractor — be explored. The resolution, however, was non-binding, and Schulz is free to ignore it.
According to POLITICO, Parliament leaders say the in-house driver service is needed to improve security. Schulz is pushing forward on a plan to purchase a fleet of cars, hire up to 100 chauffeurs, and equip them with €1,000 uniforms to improve the service and ensure security for lawmakers.
But before checking for alternative solutions, Parliament Secretary General Klaus Welle signed a request in May to spend €200,000 from the 2016 Parliamentary budget to start the recruitment process for drivers. According to the request, a list of 300 applicants would be drafted, then subjected to passing further tests and security checks.
- Why does the European Parliament need its own drivers and limousines?