Herman Van Rompuy will be paid more than £500,000 by the EU to do nothing
Generous golden goodbye and pension means the retired former EU president will earn £578,000 over the next three years
Herman Van Rompuy will be entitled to more than £500,000 for doing nothing at the taxpayer’s expense over the next three years, after finishing his term as president of Europe.
After standing down on Monday, the former president of the European Council will be paid £133,723 a year, 55 per cent of his basic salary, until December 2017 – to ease him back into life outside the world of Brussels officialdom.
The Telegraph has established that Mr Van Rompuy will also receive a one off payment of £21,000 and, aged 67, he will be able draw a lifetime EU pension worth £52,000 a year, taking his earnings to £578,000 over the next three years.
The “transitional allowance” does not require Mr Van Rompuy to do any work at all and the cash will be paid under reduced rates of EU “community” tax, which are far lower than taxation in his native country of Belgium.
The allowances are defended as “the price for the total independence” of senior European Union officials who must also “ask permission for any job they would like to do for 18 months after leaving”.
Mr Van Rompuy, a former Belgian prime minister, is retiring from a life in frontline politics to concentrate on his hobby of writing Haiku poetry while giving occasional lectures at the College of Europe, a training school for EU officials in Bruges.
While self-effacing in public, Mr Van Rompuy has not been a stranger to controversy over the perks of EU officialdom since he took the post in December 2009.
He was widely criticised four years ago for using his official motorcade of five limousines as a taxi service to take his family on 325-mile round trip to Paris airport en route to a private holiday in the Caribbean.
Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip who was fined £2,700 by the European Parliament in 2010 for describing Mr Van Rompuy as having the “charisma of a damp rag”, attacked the payments.
“Van Rompuy’s term in office has seen millions driven into poverty and unemployment by the eurozone crisis but he himself has hit the jackpot. The EU is a racket which looks after its own,” he said.
The cost of Mr Van Rompuy’s retirement is part of a much larger bill for the handover of the administration in EU as former European Commissioners serving in the last Brussels executive pocket “transitional allowances” worth around £30million.
Donald Tusk has officially taken over Mr Van Rompuy in the post as president of the European Council after being persuaded to take the job by a pay and perks worth over five times what he was earning as Polish prime minister.
He was initially reluctant to leave national politics, until he was persuaded by his wife Malgorzata to take the “prestige, better money and less problems at work” in July.
In his first day in the job, Mr Tusk compared Eurosceptics to the military threat posed by Russian in Ukraine as “threats to the EU coming both from outside and inside”.
“Today not only are eurosceptics questioning the EU’s value, we have also enemies, not only sceptic,” he said.
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