Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, is facing heat in Holland as he is accused of planning to “campaign on the European taxpayers’ dime” when he steps down.
The so-called “Green Pope” will apparently use his very generous redundancy pay from the European Union to further his ambitions of winning the Dutch general elections, scheduled to take place on November 22.
His intentions have attracted some criticism, with fellow Dutch politician Geert Wilders calling Timmermans “a common money grubber”. On the internet, other critics have decried him as self-serving, insincere and hypocritical. Some accuse him of “talking the talk but not walking the walk”.
Zelf ontslag nemen en toch een gouden wachtgeldregeling. Op kosten van de belastingbetaler.
Dat is ordinaire zakkenvullerij. https://t.co/1F7aBjVk1E
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) August 17, 2023
Despite Timmermans being all but certain of a well-paying position post-EC, he said he will make full use of the lucrative European redundancy pay scheme offered by Brussels.
The cooperating parties of Socialists (PvdA) and Greens (GroenLinks) admitted to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that when Timmermans is finally elected by party members as list leader, he will quit as a Commissioner and take advantage of the redundancy pay scheme during the campaign, possibly longer.
As a Commissioner, Timmermans earns around €300,000 annually, almost double that of the Dutch Prime Minister. He can take 40 to 65 per cent of this in redundancy pay for two years, as a “transition allowance”. The exact amount will depend on what is decided as his level of seniority.
With him being in top posts the EC for almost a decade, that amount is likely to be substantial. De Telegraaf points out that one Commissioner who left in 2020 after six years in office received a €450,000 pay out.
Timmermans did not disclose how long he is planning to use his redundancy money but, in theory, he could receive it for up to two years.
Politicians in the Netherlands are not poor and if Timmermans is installed as the Dutch Prime Minister, he would be on €186,414 a year. But since he’s used to pulling in €300,000 annually, the EU would just give him the difference, as a “social redistribution”.
Among critics, Dutch journalist Rutger Castricum was equally harsh on television, calling Timmermans’ decision to accept the EU cash as “incomprehensible” and saying it was the “first big blunder” of the cooperating Left-wing parties.
He added it was all the more difficult to fathom as Timmerman is the lead candidate for Socialists and Greens, who claim to represent the poor and working-class voters.
“If you earn €300,000 per year for almost a decade, and you will do a political campaign for four months, after which you will earn a decent salary again, while at the same time championing the fight against poverty, you should be able to move beyond such a scheme,” Castricum said.