Estonian members of the European Parliament are reluctant to disclose their benefits for last year, with the exception of independent Indrek Tarand, whose compensations exceeded his salary last year.
Siiri Oviir (ex-Center Party), Kristiina Ojuland (ex-Reform Party), Ivari Padar (Social Democrats), Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ex-Center Party, current Reform Party member) and Tunne Kelam (IRL) were all vague about their expenses and benefits when quizzed about it by Delfi, leading the news site to assume they’ve made a pact not to publish the size of their expense benefits, Eesti Päevaleht reported.
Ojuland told the newspaper that other Estonian MEPs told her they would give similar answers and she expressed surprise that Tarand went into specifics. She added that the benefit rates are determined by law and publishing the details would amount to a cheap popularity contest.
Tarand was the only MEP to disclose the exact amount of his benefits - 150,051 euros or 12,500 euros per month. The sum included travel expenses, per diems for business trips, maintaining a MEP office in Estonia and the costs of hosting visiting groups. The benefits exceed his monthly MEP salary, which stands at 6,200 euros after tax.
According to Ojuland, the amount paid to other MEPs is similar, only the specific categories vary.