The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

Nepotism among the Members of the European Parliament

30 July 2014 / 08:07:28  GRReporter
7959 reads

The newly elected Greek members of the EP did not waste an instant before appointing their assistants. In a typical Balkan style, they took full advantage of the possibility to settle their spouses, children, relatives and party mates for a nice job and high incomes, reports the Proto Thema news edition.  

As improbable as these might seem, the appointments of relatives-assistants to the three MEPs from the Golden Dawn Party are quite real because family comes first for them. Since they could not directly appoint their own children, the following scheme was applied: Giorgos Epitidios hired the daughter of Eleftherios Synadinos. Epitidios’ daughter was appointed assistant to the third MEP of the extreme right party, Lambros Foudoulis. 

Presently it is unknown who of his relatives was appointed in exchange in the office of Synadinos. Meanwhile, in order to avoid discontent within the party, they appointed as assistants two of the failed candidates for MEPs from Golden Dawn.  

Notis Marias, the MEP from Independent Greeks harnessed all his ingenuity to hire his own son without instigating negative reactions. The young man was hired by the office of Conservatives and Reformists Group where his father is a member.

Although not yet officially appointed, and perhaps this will not happen, the presence of the spouses of two European MEPs from SYRIZA in Brussels turned into a hot discussion and criticism point. Especially conspicuous is the case with the husband of MEP Sofia Sakorafa, Konstantinos Bitzanis. Here is her explanation of his being among the most trustworthy of her assistants: “We have been together for 25 – 30 years. Should we separate at 60 just because I was elected in the European Parliament? My husband is my advisor. He has always been by my side to support me, but he gets no salary for this,” says Sakorafa for Proto Thema newspaper.

The wife of another SYRIZA MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, has worked in Brussels and initially had the role of coordinator, though there is no evidence that Elena Milona has been formally appointed to any position.

The Elia party MEP Eva Kaili appointed her sister Madalena to coordinate her office workflow as she has done so far during her 10-year political career. “Madalena has her wonderful opportunities outside politics. But once you get involved in politics, your sister is the first trustworthy person that comes to mind. Madalena became head of my office from the moment I entered politics, and continued to do this job even when I was outside politics. Today she is a scientific assistant in my office in Athens and her job is related to my obligations as a MEP”, admits Kaili and adds that her trust for her sister is rooted not only in their kinship but also in her qualities. 

Madalena Kaili graduated from law school and obtained her magistrate degree in trade law in London. She did her training at the Norton Rose law office where she worked for a short period of time. In 2012-2013, she managed the multiplex chain Village Cinemas in Thessaloniki. She also worked for the International Migration Organisation.

Maria Spyraki from New Democracy did not appoint any of her relatives, but for assistants in her office in Brussels she chose two young party members, sons of senior party members. They are Giorgos Moliviatis, son of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Petros Moliviatis and Makis Zagoritis, son of the former New Democracy Party Secretary Eleftheris Zagoritis. “I select my assistants depending on their qualities, experience and capacities”, Spyraki wrote in her social network profile and drew attention to the fact that Makis Zagoritis is fluent in three languages and has two magistrate degrees.

Each MEP is entitled to appoint an unlimited number of assistants within a monthly budget of EUR 21,000. For those working in Brussels there are 19 payment categories whereas the lowest salary is EUR 1,694.21 (gross EUR 2,139.13), and the highest salary is EUR 7,802.33 (gross EUR 9,466.82). Clearly, deductions amount to 20% and categories above 13 require a university diploma or three-year experience in any job position.

All assistants to MEPs in Athens should observe the stipulations of the Greek labour law. They can be appointed under a permanent labour contract or as freelancers who issue receipts for the services provided.

In addition, MEPs have the right to contract companies in the line of business of organization and management of political offices as long as the total expenses do not exceed EUR 21,000. The Greek MEPs can use yet another preference provided by the National Parliament: coverage of expenses for four more assistants.

Besides the regular salaries, MEPs’ assistants in their Brussels offices enjoy a quite high additional remuneration. For example, their mission allowances amount to EUR 100 per day. This means that when an assistant spends 10 days in Brussels and 20 days in Athens, he will have his monthly salary plus EUR 2,000 for mission allowances.

Regulations on assistants stipulate that even if they have no diploma, the child of a MEP can have a net salary of EUR 4,430 (the salary for category 12) and if staying for 20 days in Brussels can add another EUR 2,000 to it. All this, multiplied by 12 months for five years ensures a fine lump sum.

GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus