Members of the European Parliament have awarded themselves an in-house, chauffeur-driven service at a cost to taxpayers of €10 million a year, even though they already have a limo service within both Parliamentary buildings, in Brussels and Strasbourg.
The new in-house service, which they say is needed to protect them from possible terrorism, will replace the contracted service currently running from the basement car parks in both Parliamentary buildings. MEPs are able to use the chauffeur driven cars, which are permanently on stand-by, for any trip around Brussels or Strasbourg.
The resolution introducing the new service will add another €3.7 million to the €7 million already in the Parliamentary’s administrative budget for MEP transportation, Politico has reported. The extra money will be spent on outfitting vetted staff with uniforms at a cost of €1,000 each, as well as a fleet of new green cars.
MEPs are fearful for their personal safety after it emerged that one of the bombers responsible for the terrorist attack on Brussels in March worked briefly at the Parliament as a contracted cleaner, with access to every office in the building.
A spokesman for the Parliament told Germany’s Bild that the cleaning company had done due diligence on the suicide bomber, and that he had a clean criminal record.
Despite this, the resolution, in noting that some members disagree with the creation of an in-house chauffer service, has left the door open to the consideration of an alternative “well-organized” external contract “where the external service provider is clearly obliged to take responsibility for security and background checks as well as for decent working conditions and pay.”
Nonetheless, the Parliament has already released a job advertisement to fill 300 candidacy roles in a Parliamentary database, from which the required 110 chauffeurs may be drawn. Successful job applicants will receive a gross salary of €1907.24 per annum, plus pension and health insurance.