Staffing arrangements: parliamentary assistants
MEPs can choose their own staff, within a budget set by Parliament. In 2018, the maximum monthly amount available for all the costs involved in recruiting personal assistants is € 24,526 per MEP. None of these funds are paid to the MEP themselves.
MEPs can choose different kind of assistants:
- Accredited assistants, based in Brussels (or Luxembourg/Strasbourg) are managed administratively directly by Parliament’s administration, under the same employment conditions as for temporary EU staff. MEPs can recruit a maximum of three accredited assistants (under certain conditions four). A minimum of a quarter of the total budget must be used for the employment of accredited assistants.
- MEPs can also hire “local” assistants based in their member states. They are managed administratively by qualified paying agents to ensure that tax and social security requirements are properly met. A maximum of 75 % of the total budget can be used for these local assistants.
Apart from employing accredited and local assistants, up to a quarter of the total budget available can also be used to pay for services from providers chosen by the MEP, such as ordering an expert study.
The assistants are required to avoid external activities that may cause a conflict of interest. Since 2009, MEPs may no longer employ close relatives. The names or corporate names of all assistants are published on Parliament’s website for the duration of their contract, unless they obtain a derogation on duly justified grounds of protection of their safety.