Huge differences exist between MPs’ salaries and expenses across the EU with some countries paying their parliamentarians ten times more than others, a Euronews investigation has found.
Euronews carries an exclusive analysis about the different salaries EU legislators get.
According to this analysis, Italian MPs enjoy the highest basic salary in the bloc, earning around 167,000 euros a year, while their Bulgarian counterparts take home just 16,318 euros annually.
Lawmakers from the UK, Italy, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands all earn more than Members of the European Parliament, who take home around 96,000 euros a year.
The gap in salaries is not explained simply by different costs of living across Europe.
One common theme is that parliamentarians always earn more than the bulk of the people they represent. But discrepancies vary widely.
Italian MPs have a basic salary of around 167,257 euros, which works out as 5.3 times the country’s mean earnings, which stand at 31,680 euros, according to latest Eurostat data (2010).
Bulgaria and the three Baltic states – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – also have high ratios when you compare MPs’ salaries with mean earnings.
Malta and Spain have one of the smallest ratios, with MPs’ salaries just above that of mean wages within their borders.
Spanish MPs living outside of Madrid, however, earn two-thirds of their basic salary (33,768 euros) again in a tax-free lump sum for expenses (21,886).
Slovakia, which has a mid-range ratio of 2.2, links its MP earnings to average salaries.