European Commission's Jean-Claude Juncker in expenses row over £24,450 private plane to Rome

The Commission said the spending was within EU rules 

Chloe Farand
Wednesday 09 August 2017 23:49
EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker
EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his team racked up a bill of £24,450 by chartering a private plane for a one-night visit to Rome, campaigners have revealed.

The fee for the "air taxis" which commissioners are supposed to charter only when there are no commercial options available was part of almost half a million euro bill accumulated by the 28 commissioners in January and February 2016.

Spanish-based human rights group Access Info spent several years trying to obtain detailed information about EU officials' expenses and following an official request, the Commission released the travel expenses documents.

The private jet from Brussels to Rome was used by Mr Juncker and an eight-people delegation in February 2016.

Commission deputy chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said the private plane was chartered because there was "no viable commercial plane available that would fit the president's agenda".

She also stressed the £2,650 cost per person for the flight and said the spending was within EU rules.

Ms Andreeva also described flights on "air taxis" as "hard work", which includes "reading documents with your files and marking them", adding: "So I think you will be disappointed as to the travelling experience."

She said all travel expenses were scrutinised by the Commission.

The documents also showed the Commission chartered "air taxis" 28 times in 2016 and added that the flights were often shared with the president of the European Council and Parliament, the Telegraph reports.

Among the other travel expenditure detailed, the foreign affairs Federica Mogherini spent £67,700 on a trip to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Reacting to the revelations, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the expenses were "outrageous" and "over the top".

He said: "Outrageous! Juncker spending 27,000 euros on a private jet at taxpayers' expense is clearly over the top especially when many normal flights are available."

Last month, Theresa May spent £20,000 on an RAF plane to fly Arlene Foster home after the DUP leader signed the £1bn deal to prop up the Conservative Government following her humiliating election result.

Ms Foster was given a ride in the military aircraft from No 10 in London to her home in Belfast.

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