MEP earnings are once again under scrutiny after an exposé published by influencer-turned-MEP Fidias Panayiotou. (EPA/MATTHIAS BALK)


Overpaid? YouTuber MEP exposes European Parliament gravy train


MEPs’ earnings are once again under scrutiny after an exposé published by influencer-turned-European Parliament member Fidias Panayiotou.

The YouTuber published a video titled How Much Politicians Get Paid detailing the various salaries and allowances he as a European representative is now entitled to.

“It’s a lot,” he said.

He began by noting that he was entitled to €8,000 a month as a salary, alongside an extra €350 for every working day he spends in the EP, something he described as a “bit strange”.

“Apart from that, I have €30,000 per month for the salaries of my team,” he continued.

“Also, I can have an office in my country and they give me €5,000 a month for that.”

Fidias went on to note parliament was also willing to provide him with an additional €4,000 a month to promote his work in the EP, as well as additional allowances to invite individuals for working visits to the parliament.

He added that he could also avail of a private driver for official travel, as well as business-class tickets to fly to and from his home country.

“I’m curious to hear if you think we are overpaid or underpaid,” he concluded. “Let me know in the comments.”

In response, many netizens said they felt MEPs were being “very much overpaid”.

Others noted that Fidias was not even able to detail all of the perks that MEPs can avail of within his one-minute video.

Peter Cleppe — writer of Brussels Signal‘s weekly Berlaymont Signal newsletter — noted that the YouTuber did not get to mention the so-called “general expenditure allowance”.

Valued at just under €5,000 a month, that is particularly controversial as it does not need to be justified to the European Parliament and can even be delivered directly into an MEP’s personal bank account.

Others noted that ex-EP members also can take an official EU pension valued at 3.5 per cent of their salary for each full year they were in office.

In addition, most MEPs do not have to pay tax on this income beyond small fees imposed by the EP, as well as the local government in Brussels, although such rules differ depending on what Member State a politician represents.

Fidias has since posted other videos explaining the internal workings of the European Union, as well as the EP’s fancy sparkling-water drinking fountains.