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Polish MEPs and their personal job creation schemes – 1 MEP employs 19, 2 each employ 17

Jeżeli trafiłeś na ten blog po przeczytaniu wcześniej artykułu w Gazecie Wyborczej, zwróć proszę uwagę na dalsze wyjaśnienia i pytania w komentarzach. Natknąłem się na te informacje przez przypadek i nie wiem jak odnoszą się one do innych państw członkowskich UE. Gazeta zakłada, że z uwagi że jestem Brytyjskim blogerem chcę mniej pieniędzy dla budżetu UE. To nie jest prawda – jestem zwolennikiem większego budżetu UE.

If you arrive at this blog post after reading the story about it in Gazeta please note the clarifications and questions in the comments. I came across this issue by chance, and do not know how this compares to other EU Member States. Gazeta assumes that I want less EU budget because I am a British blogger. This is not correct – I am in favour of a larger EU budget.

Screen Shot 2013-01-10 at 13.11.22A couple of weeks ago on Twitter, @euro_jonathan and I were debating the staff budgets allocated to MEPs, and stumbled across some Polish MEPs who seemed to be employing abnormally high numbers of assistants. Spurred on today by this horribly inaccurate Telegraph piece about the costs of running the European Parliament that doesn’t even mention staff costs (nor interpretation), I thought I would quickly revisit the Polish MEPs issue.

The table below lists the MEPs in alphabetical order, and names their group in the European Parliament, their Polish party, gives a link to the official biography page about the MEP on the EP’s website, and lists the number of Accredited Assistants and the number of Local Assistants. These numbers are taken from each MEP’s biography page on the EP website.

The 2011 figure for a MEP’s staffing costs allocation – the latest I can find on the EP website (at the bottom here) – was €21209 per month per MEP.

One MEP - Ryszard Antoni LEGUTKO of the ECR Group – employs 1 accredited assistant, and 18 locals. Two further MEPs - Tadeusz CYMAŃSKI of the EFD Group and Ryszard CZARNECKI of the ECR Group – each employ 2 accredited assistants and 15 local assistants. The slight irony is that those British ‘get rid of Brussels waste’ crusaders the Tories also sit in the ECR Group, while UKIP sit in the EFD Group.

I do not know what conclusions to draw from this. Dividing the €21209 by 19, does not give a stellar wage to the people Legutko employs. Conversely, what does a MEP need 19 assistants for? Are all of these people really and genuinely doing work only for him, and are not doing other party work on the side? Or are the MEPs simply lazy, and have not removed former employees from their books?

Anyway, however you look at it, this situation does not look healthy.

Name EP Group Party EP Bio Accred
assts
Local
assts
Adam BIELAN ECR Niezależny Bio 1 3
Piotr BORYS EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 1 5
Arkadiusz Tomasz BRATKOWSKI EPP Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe Bio 2 5
Jerzy BUZEK EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 6
Tadeusz CYMAŃSKI EFD Solidarna Polska Bio 2 15
Ryszard CZARNECKI ECR Prawo i Sprawiedliwość Bio 2 15
Lidia Joanna GERINGER de OEDENBERG S&D Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Bio 2 6
Adam GIEREK S&D Unia Pracy Bio 1 6
Marek Józef GRÓBARCZYK ECR Prawo i Sprawiedliwość Bio 1 13
Andrzej GRZYB EPP Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe Bio 2 12
Małgorzata HANDZLIK EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 10
Jolanta Emilia HIBNER EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 10
Danuta Maria HÜBNER EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 3 3
Danuta JAZŁOWIECKA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 3 3
Sidonia Elżbieta JĘDRZEJEWSKA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 2
Filip KACZMAREK EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 1 7
Jarosław KALINOWSKI EPP Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe Bio 3 11
Michał Tomasz KAMIŃSKI ECR Polska Jest Najważniejsza Bio 3 3
Lena KOLARSKA-BOBIŃSKA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 8
Paweł Robert KOWAL ECR Polska Jest Najważniejsza Bio 1 4
Jan KOZŁOWSKI EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 3 1
Jacek Olgierd KURSKI EFD Solidarna Polska Bio 2 5
Ryszard Antoni LEGUTKO ECR Prawo i Sprawiedliwość Bio 1 18
Bogusław LIBERADZKI S&D Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Bio 1 13
Krzysztof LISEK EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 3 4
Elżbieta Katarzyna ŁUKACIJEWSKA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 4
Bogdan Kazimierz MARCINKIEWICZ EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 4
Marek Henryk MIGALSKI ECR Polska Jest Najważniejsza Bio 1 8
Sławomir NITRAS EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 3
Jan OLBRYCHT EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 6
Wojciech Michał OLEJNICZAK S&D Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Bio 4 4
Mirosław PIOTROWSKI ECR Prawo i Sprawiedliwość Bio 2 4
Tomasz Piotr PORĘBA ECR Prawo i Sprawiedliwość Bio 2 8
Jacek PROTASIEWICZ EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 3 6
Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 5
Joanna SENYSZYN S&D Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Bio 1 12
Czesław Adam SIEKIERSKI EPP Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe Bio 2 14
Marek SIWIEC S&D Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Bio 2 6
Joanna Katarzyna SKRZYDLEWSKA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 4
Bogusław SONIK EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 1 6
Konrad SZYMAŃSKI ECR Prawo i Sprawiedliwość Bio 1 13
Róża Gräfin von THUN UND HOHENSTEIN EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 3
Rafał TRZASKOWSKI EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 3
Jarosław Leszek WAŁĘSA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 6
Jacek WŁOSOWICZ EFD Solidarna Polska Bio 3 8
Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI ECR Prawo i Sprawiedliwość Bio 1 12
Paweł ZALEWSKI EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 1 6
Artur ZASADA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 3 8
Janusz Władysław ZEMKE S&D Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Bio 1 9
Zbigniew ZIOBRO EFD Solidarna Polska Bio 3 2
Tadeusz ZWIEFKA EPP Platforma Obywatelska Bio 2 10
Photo: "Flags" by Pawel Kabanski on May 3, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

24 Comments

  • Jonathan |

    Well done Jon for taking the time to put the table together. As you suggest, it raises more questions than it answers.

  • Olga |

    A good thing to know would be if the assistants are all full-time. 21K euros divided by 19 is still a lot of money in some countries (Poland), in smaller cities even for a full-time job. 200 to 300 euros per month would be a very nice extra income for a part-time job of one or two days a week for students, interns or volunteers.

    This is not to say that there might not be something funky going on but let’s take the realities of the labor market into consideration.

  • Marko |

    Jon, excellent work. The numbers indeed raise many questions. While it could be theoretically possible to employ all 19 people (in those 3 cases), since the MEP could employ them into the lowest category in Brussels and on a minimum wage in Poland, it clearly is worrying. The question you raise regarding what kind of work these people do is more relevant – is there any way that the EP could monitor whether these people are really working for the MEP or simply draw a salary while not working at all or working for the local party? There are so many loopholes in the current office allowance regulations that only a serious investigation could give answers. Don’t bet on the EP undertaking it.

  • Jon |

    Fair point. And as my piece makes clear I don’t know what’s going on here. I’m not trying to make any great claim – more work and investigation is needed.

  • Gosia |

    I think these MEPs have better economic sense they can employ more people for less money when others need to pay more for fewer people to work for them in Poland. For instance Jan KOZŁOWSKI 21K euros divided by 4 – it is a lot of money in Poland and no only . Honesty I do not think other MEP spends less than 21 K – do they? why should they do this ?. They only pay better for their workers. It will be good to see how much MEP spends and then compare results.

  • Jon |

    @Brusselsblogger – that’s not really my task as a blogger. If others want to take this work further then they are most welcome. I’m raising the question, but I am not interested enough in this issue to take it further really. I’m an unpaid blogger, not a journalist.

  • Paweł J. Dąbrowski |

    Well…

    They create as many jobs, as they can…

    Dont’ they?

    Perhaps it is the only contribution euro-crates make towards employment growth..

    Can you name a case of more fruitful contribution?

    ;)

    PS: good job..
    regards
    P

  • Brusselsblogger |

    Interesting point you make about “that’s not really my task as a blogger” – While this of course a legitimate view I see this differently: nowadays with main stream journalism often doing little to no investigation anymore I see here a big opportunity for bloggers.

    Your article here is a perfect example. Calling some MEPs (or simply confronting them with your story by sending them a link to your article) is very little work and could give a lot of credibility to the blog (not that I say your blog has no credibility – much the opposite actually, I’m just taking this article as an example). In addition, the blog format allows for very easy updates in case some MEPs answer you.

  • Jacek |

    I think that Marco made the best conclusion in pointing out the need to investigate what kind of work these people do. I would also add that some of them might be interns from the Kosciuszko Institute who received a scholarship and work for some of the Polish MEPs. Although, I don’t think there is many of them.

    Another important issue would be the lack of transparency in terms of the work that MEPs do in Brussels. Personally I would welcome a chance to look into a schedule of their everyday appointments to see that the money they earn is effectively spent.

  • PolishBrit |

    I was wondering why you solely concentrated on Polish MEP’s. To put it into context, you should have made a comparison with MEP’s of other nationalities including the likes of Nick Farage. Otherwise, you can be accused of having a Polish fixation.

  • Jon |

    @PolishBrit – as stated in the very first paragraph of this blog entry, all of this came about more or less by chance when @euro_jonathan and I stumbled across this issue. Further, as I have repeatedly said, what we found raises more questions than answers.

    I have no intention whatsoever to be anti-Polish, or to have any sort of Polish fixation. There are 1612 posts to date on this blog, the vast majority of them about European politics, and if you looked beyond this entry you would see I am very far from having any sort of Polish fixation.

  • PolishBrit |

    I have only come across your blog because your piece has been picked up by the Gazeta Wyborcza website and I simply wanted to check the source. You may have a point. It’s just that your research only concentrates on Polish MEP’s and there is no comparison with others. Thus you have left yourself open to the “fixation” criticism.

  • Jon |

    Yes, but I do this blog as a hobby – do you fancy going through 754 MEPs’ assistants? I put this issue out there and have expressly *not* tried to draw too many conclusions. And Gazeta has not contacted me about it at all – if they had I could have explained how I came across this.

  • PolishBrit |

    It’s just that you must have to have done quite a lot of digging to get this info and a few simple cross checks would not have gone amiss. This is a bit of a shame, since otherwise the results of your research would have been of much greater value and not be subject of the fixation criticism.

  • Jacek |

    Jon, you have explicitly explained your position. Personally I can’t see any reason to criticize you for publicly pointing out that there might be an issue with Polish MEPs employing a large number of assistants funded by the EU. Besides, the money they are being paid comes ultimately from our wallets (and yours as well).

    The only thing I cannot understand is the explanations given by some of them to Gazeta Wyborcza. For example, one of the MEPs Tadeusz Cymański said (amongst other things) that by employing 17 young people he intends to bring down the number of unemployed. He add that it’s better to pay 2 young graduates 1000 polish zloty [monthly] (about 250 Euro) than to let one of them be out of work.
    The MEP Jan Kozłowski informed the newspaper that the 8 assistants he employs helped him organise a tour around his political district during which he met with the local authorities.

    In my opinion the real question is: how come they employ so many people full-time and are not able to say anything about what these assistants do for them. When I read that MEP Joanna Senyszyn has 17 assistants working in 12 offices in 6 cities, I honestly cannot imagine what they might be doing every day. What I mean is, does she really need to have 12 offices? In the 21st century, the century of internet, telephones…? What else it can be for than to display her name in every one of these cities to make her more popular?

    Let’s stop criticizing Jon for not spending the whole week doing a full research on every MEP and focus on the matter at hand: our representatives who do whatever work they do outside of the public view and spend money that every EU citizen is paying for.

  • PolishBrit |

    This would be plagiarism and I wouldn’t want to do be seen to be doing involved in that. . It’s Jon’s work and Jon’s work only. He has definitely cottoned on to something, but it cannot be seen to be purely a Polish thing.

  • Jon |

    All the blog content here is CC Licensed for not for profit purposes. So feel free to use the data here in your own research!

  • PolishBrit |

    If this was my priority I’d be happy to do so. I spend most of my time adding Polish as well as pro-life news stories to http://www.tutkajnews.co.uk . My own media contributions are in the archive section. I am in the process of developing a new website http://www.promocjapolski.eu . As you can see, I spend most of my time digging around, Can I leave this particular digging with you? This is a subject matter that you are familiar with and perhaps you can contact me when you have finished your relatively simple cross checks. I will try an open mind about all this.

  • Dorota |

    Hi Jon, ecxellent blog entry and good inquiry. o wonder what would we get if these numbers of assistants were plotted against the involvement, productivity, some kind of measurable results… correlation might be negative as i do not recollect these MEPs being particularly active..

So, what do you think ?