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European Parliament employees are not too amused over what seems to be a secretive hike in the prices at the canteen. According to POLITICO, the employees are saying that the issue has left the most democratic EU institution with the least democratic lunch menu.
POLITICO report says that the increases, carried out in recent days while most MEPs and Parliament staff are on vacation or working outside of Brussels, pumped up prices of some items by 25 percent or more — and prompted a formal complaint from staff unions.
“A side portion of frites, previously €2, according to workers, now costs €2.50, a jump of 25 percent, while the price of the soup du jour — oignon a la cheddar on Thursday — has skyrocketed to €1 from 8o cents, also a 25 percent rise.
The increases include the addition of Belgian value-added tax, which previously had not been charged, as well as price rises that coincided with new contracts with private vendors that took effect on August 5.
“The soup is one thing, but the salad bar and even the coffee is much more expensive,” one Parliament employee from Poland said as she perused a station of €8 appetizers.”
A spokeswoman for the Parliament said that the changes, including the new VAT charges in Brussels and the plan to issue new contracts to new vendors, had been communicated to MEPs and staff, both before and after the new tender was issued in December 2018.
However, one union mocked the Parliament explanation citing recent EU “fiscal directives,” saying a previous directive on VAT was dated 2006. And Parliament employees have complained that the higher prices coinciding with the new vendor contracts were never announced in advance, leading to shock as they loaded up their lunch trays in recent days.