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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Well done Margot

Credit where credit is due.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we're not the biggest fans of the former Commissioner for Propaganda Communication, Margot Wallstrom. Margot and her office too often acted like outright lobbyists trying to promote ever closer union - including spinning facts on the Lisbon Treaty and trying to silence and slander dissenting voices - rather than civil servants charged with providing factual information (they are funded by taxpayers after all).

But Margot, who now holds a UN position - Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict - has recently done a rather principled thing. Unlike most of her former colleagues, she turned down the controversial 'transitional allowance' that Commissioners are entitled to for three years after leaving office. We've looked at this issue before, but the transitional allowance is again hitting the headlines, as it emerged that ex-Commissioners such as Charlie McCreevy and Peter Mandelson receive hefty pay-outs from the EU despite holding lucrative jobs or making money from book sales.

The allowance is worth a lot of money - for Margot it would have been up to 60% of her final annual Commission salary for three years, or the difference between her current salary and her salary as a Commissioner (€270,376).

Now, Wallstrom won't starve - having made €2,991,313 during her ten years in Brussels and with an annual pension of €113,486 - but you still have to give her credit for doing the decent thing here (given that she did turn it down for ethical reasons and not, for example, because she makes more than what she did as Commissioner in her new role, which would be a scandal in its own right).

So well done Margot - as taxpayers we salute you.

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