The European Union will not pay for so-called “observer” MEPs sent to Brussels by Ukraine before the country formally becomes a member, the office of President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has said.
It comes after Metsola said that the country should be given honorary MEP slots at some point before it officially becomes part of the EU.
Speaking to Brussels Signal, Metsola’s office strenuously denied that such politicians would be paid for by the EU, saying that any state given such observer seats would be responsible for paying their people occupying them.
“The observers would be nominated and remunerated by their respective governments,” the office said in a statement late on October 25.
“This would not only apply to Ukraine but all EU candidate countries, once an accession treaty has been signed,” it added, saying that a similar arrangement was in place for “previous enlargements”.
Ukraine should be allowed to have MEPs in the European Parliament before it formally joins the European Union, Parliament President Roberta Metsola has said. https://t.co/2iNA0GMlNQ
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 25, 2023
This most recent statement made to Brussels Signal was much softer in tone than Metsola’s previous comments, with the office not using the term “MEP” or “observer members” at all.
Initially floating the idea in an interview recently, Metsola had been more willing to play up the honorary positions she wanted to grant to Ukraine.
Encouraging the EU to “throw open its doors” to Ukraine and the other EU candidate states, she described the early admission of such “observer members” of parliament as something that “matters” to the general public.
It does not appear to matter so much that the EU is willing to fork out enough cash to pay for the privilege. Fully-fledged MEPs benefit from a monthly salary of almost €10,000 along with a host of other perks and allowances.
That is not to say Brussels will not end up paying for the positions indirectly. The European Commission website boasts that the bloc has already handed over €60 billion in funding and other types of aid to Ukraine since Russia’s 2022 invasion.
Jean-Claude Juncker has warned the European Union against admitting Ukraine to the bloc too fast, claiming the country is “corrupt at all levels of society”. https://t.co/n8HcP0V8F0
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 5, 2023