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European Assembly (Members' Salaries)

Volume 961: debated on Tuesday 30 January 1979

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asked the Prime Minister what suggestions he made at the European summit in December 1978 in relation to the salaries of European Members of Parliament.

It was agreed at the meeting of the European Council on 4 and 5 December that the emoluments of Members of the European Assembly should be based on those of Members of national Parliaments, and should be subject to national taxation. I supported this approach.

How does the Prime Minister square reducing the salaries of our elected representatives in Europe to the level of hon. Members of this House while apparently being satisfied that British commissioners and British civil servants in Brussels should receive the much higher European rates? Is not that to discriminate against the politicians in favour of the bureaucrats?

Fortunately, it is not my responsibility to have to reconcile these two things—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—It is not the Government's responsibility to fix the salaries of civil servants in Brussels. It is the responsibility of Parliament only to fix the salaries of Members from this country who attend the European Assembly. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman is failing in his usual, logical approach to these matters.

Has my right hon. Friend seen the report in European News that discrimination in this respect would be overcome by increasing the expenses of European Members—rent allowances and every other expense? Will he ensure that this does not happen with regard to our representatives?

I have not seen that report, but I shall certainly take it into account if any proposals have to be made to Parliament in due course.