Herman van Rompuy’s new 700,000-euro salary for doing nothing

Former EU Council President Herman van Rompuy gets paid to not work as he eases back to ordinary life from Brussels officialdom

Herman Van Rompuy, former Belgian prime minister, is retiring from a life in frontline politics where he has UKIP MEP’s favorite whipping boy as President of the European Council. He has been criticised as having the “charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk” but it seems that he will have the last laugh… at taxpayers’ expense. After standing down on Monday as president of the European Council, he will be paid 578,000 pounds or 700,000 euros for doing absolutely nothing!

This “transitional salary” as it is called is 55% of his basic salary to be given until December 2017 so that he can ease back into life outside Brussels. The allowance is paid from the EU “community tax” and is to ensure that he will not accept another job that would create a conflict of interest with his previous role.

Senior EU officials are known to have such transitional allowances. They defend them because the allowances bind them to ask for permission for any job they would like to do after leaving.