Study: Martin Schulz ‘used private jets, spent lavishly and bent regulation’

By Vincent van den Born
EP President Martin Schulz bending the knee to the religion of permanent offence, 2012.

Over the weekend, the news broke that German magazine Der Spiegel and British newspaper The London Times have investigated European President Martin Schulz’

“use of private jets, lavish spending in expensive restaurants and alleged promotion of close aides to plum posts during the five years he spent as president of the European parliament.”

Schulz was elected this month to lead the Social-Democratic SPD in the upcoming German elections, which will be held in September, making him a Chancellor hopefull, at the expense of the CDU’s Angela Merkel.

According to Ingeborg Gräßle, MEP for the CDU and chair of the Budgetary Control Committee (BCC):

Schulz was shamelessly bending regulation according to his political ambition. I will see to it that these revelations are thoroughly investigated.”

It is not the first time Gräßle has been critical of the Schulz, but now she is said to have commented that “[Schulz] did everything we criticise African leaders for.

Amongst the things Schulz is accused of, are the chartering of a private jet instead of using the regular train or air services, using staff as his personal valet service, shoehorning political allies into posts on the administration of the European Parliament and regularly entertaining at expensive restaurants.

One clear case of corruption is that of Markus Engels. From 2012 onward, Engels worked for Schulz in the Berlin Information Office. But because he was contractually employed in Brussels, Engels was able to claim an international surcharge. Officially working in Brussels also enabled him to present his presence in Berlin as a business trip, landing him additional income. Being on a 273-day business trip meant an additional €16.621,47, on top of the €840 tax-free monthly surcharge for working in Berlin from Brussels, which were all healthy additions to a €5200 a month salary. When Schulz quit as President of the European Parliament, Engels followed him: he is now his campaign manager.

Philipp Lamberts, Belgian MEP and vice-chair for the Green Faction, criticises Schulz’ leadership by saying that “you can usually explain Schulz ‘action very simply. The crucial question is: What is best for Martin Schulz?” This is also true, according to Der Spiegel, for Schulz’ celebrated renouncement of his transitional allowance. Not only does Schulz still receive a very plush pension, because of his other functions, he would never have received the allowance anyway. His renouncement was therefore merely for show.

Nevertheless, with all his enemies coming out in force, after he left, the question remains: if Schulz was such a disaster, why hasn’t he been removed earlier?

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