EU Referendum

Reality Check: Who works for the EU and what do they get paid?

A PM listener asks: "How many people does the EU employ and what is their average salary?"

The question: Alistair asks BBC Radio 4's PM programme "How many people does the EU employ, and what is their average salary?"

Reality Check verdict: 55,000 people are employed by the EU. Most of these people work for the European Commission. Salaries can range from €2,400 (£1,856) to €18,000 (£13,922) per month.

The EU employs more than 55,000 staff from its 28 member states. The majority work for the European Commission which employs about 33,000 officials, temporary staff, contract staff, and special advisers.

The European Parliament employs about 7,500 staff. Other EU institutions, such as the European Court of Justice, the Council of the EU, or the Court of Auditors employ significantly fewer personnel.

The basic salary for permanent officials in the EU ranges from around €2,400 (£1,856) per month for newly-recruited assistant-secretaries to over €18,000 (£13,922) per month for top-level administrators.

On top of the basic salaries, many EU employees are entitled to an expatriation allowance equivalent to about 16% of their basic salary. Family allowances are also available for staff at some institutions.

Although salaries paid to EU officials are not subject to national income tax, a community tax of between 8% and 45% is levied on the taxable portion of the salary.

Social security contributions are 10% for pensions and 2% for health insurance. In addition, EU staff pay a what's called a solidarity levy, or special form of tax for EU officials, of 6% or 7%. The proceeding go to the EU budget and returned to the member states under the form of funding for projects.

According to information from the European Commission, EU institutions are in the process of reducing their staff levels in view of achieving a 5% reduction by 2017 compared to 2013.


Read more: The facts behind claims in the EU debate


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