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Euro-Parliament chief gives up EUR 304 daily allowance -- for 37 days

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(STRASBOURG) - The EU's outgoing Parliament speaker Martin Schulz has given up his daily 304-euro allowance during his campaign to win the top European Commission job on behalf of the Socialist group.

The German member of the European parliament on April 17 renounced the European Union per diem to cover hotels and food up until the campaign ends May 25 on the last day of voting for a new parliament, his spokesman Armin Machmer said Wednesday.

Schulz has been chosen by the Party of European Socialists (PES) to run as their candidate for European Commission president, a job currently held by Jose Manuel Barroso.

The Socialist group is tipped to come in slightly behind the conservative European People's Party (EPP), winning 199 seats against the EPP's 209 in the 751-seat parliament.

The new Commission president will be appointed by leaders of the 28 EU nations but in a bid to give the EU a more democratic face they are supposed for the first time to take into account the results of the late May vote.

Since 1991, parliament speakers have been paid a daily allowance each day of the year whether they are on holidays or at work, according to an internal note seen by AFP. Currently set at 304 euros per day, the allowance is not taxed.

On a yearly basis this adds up to more than 110,000 euros.

They can also request up to 3,802 euros a month for accomodation as well as 1,418 as representation expenses. On a yearly basis this would potentially come to more than 45,000 euros and 17,000 euros respectively.

German conservative MEP Ingeborg Grassle, who is on the parliament's budget commission, said allowances were not taxed and came on top of a gross monthly allowance of 4,299 euros (potentially 51,000 euros a year) as well as a taxable monthly salary of 8,252 euros.


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