independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Enda Kenny is still third best-paid leader in the EU

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny remains the third best-paid leader in the EU, while a controversy over political pay is raging in Germany.

Even though Mr Kenny cut his salary by €14,000 to €200,000 upon taking office, he is still paid more than the vast majority of EU leaders. The only leaders on higher salaries are German chancellor Angela Merkel, who earns €250,000, and Luxembourg's prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who gets €210,111.

The issue of salaries paid to EU leaders has hit the headlines because the main challenger to Ms Merkel in the German election later this year has complained that the salary for the job of chancellor is too low.

Ms Merkel is often described as the most powerful woman on the planet, given her position in charge of Europe's biggest economy.

But while the salary debate continues in Germany, Mr Kenny is still on higher wages than the leaders of other large European countries.

French president Francois Hollande is paid €179,000, British prime minister David Cameron is paid €172,000 and Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is paid just €75,000. Italian prime minister Mario Monti has given up his entire salary.

Although Ireland is currently in a bailout programme, Mr Kenny is still being paid more than leaders from solvent countries, such as the Netherlands (€180,000), Finland (€129,000) and Poland (€33,367). The Cypriot president, Demetris Christofias, who has requested a bailout for his country, is on a salary of €158,551.

However, Mr Kenny is earning less than US President Barack Obama, who is on a salary of $400,000 (€303,000).

The issue of the salaries paid to EU leaders has hit the headlines again due to a controversy involving the main challenger to Ms Merkel in the German election in September.

Social Democrat leader Peir Steinbruck complained that the job of the German chancellor was underpaid.

"Almost every (savings) bank director in North Rhine-Westphalia earns more than the chancellor," he said. "A chancellor of Germany earns too little, measured by the performance they provide, in relation to other jobs with far less responsibility."

But he was criticised by Germany's last Social Democrat chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, who insisted that politicians in Germany receive an appropriate level of pay.

"I have always been able to live from my earnings as a politician," said Mr Schroder, "and if the rewards are too low, a politician can always try some other career."

The salary of the Taoiseach was even higher during the last Fianna Fail administration. Before the State's banking guarantee in September 2008, the then Taoiseach Brian Cowen was on a salary of €285,000. This was later reduced to €228,000 and then €214,000.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore promised while in opposition that he would take a salary of €190,000 if elected Taoiseach.

Irish Independent

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