Why doesn't this strike us as a surprise? MEPs have asked for more of taxpayers' cash, although this time the money will not end up directly in their pockets. The European Parliament's Committee on Budgets voted yesterday to increase MEPs' monthly staff allowance by a further €1,500 - which, multiplied by 12 months and 736 MEPs, amounts to an annual increase of €13.2 million.
Not exactly a wise decision given the wave of austerity that national governments (and taxpayers) are facing across Europe. MEPs already gave themselves a €1,500 office allowance increase last year, following claims that new duties brought in by the Lisbon Treaty had increased their workload. What's more, they already receive a generous monthly allowance of €19,709 to cover staff and other office expenses.
In the words of Italian journalist Marco Zatterin, this really is "caviar for eurosceptic palates".
NB: It's a bit disappointing to see German MEP Ingeborg Grässle (a member of the EP Budgets Committee who has been saying a couple of sensible things in the past, for example on the EU's new diplomatic service budget) saying, "I cannot do the political or control work I have to do if I don't have more staff."
Now who was it who said "where you stand depends on where you sit?"