Tables published by a Parliamentarian Committee early this month concluded
that Italy’s elected representatives pocket about 60% more than the European average.
French MPs, with a monthly pay cheque of about €14,000, are the second best paid in the eurozone. Germans receive about €12,600, while MPs get just over €10,000 in the Netherlands, €9,200 in Belgium, €8,650 in Austria, €8,594 in Greece, and €6,562 in the UK. Spanish MPs fare 'poorest': 'only' €4,650 a month, excluding secretarial costs.
The tables also revealed that
MPs enjoy a number of privileges such as free rail and air tickets, a monthly €1,300 check for travel expenses, subsidised parliamentary hairdressers and bargain-priced dining, bullet-proof pensions after only one term in parliament and are allowed to keep their day jobs, complete with additional salaries and private pensions.
In a debt-ridden country where citizens are fasting their belts in order to make ends meet, the news, although not unexpected, has been welcomed with a dose of anger and dissatisfaction.
Antonio Di Pietro, head of the centre-left Italy of Values party, said
: "What's for to be in the EU if a Spanish Parliamentarian gets a normal salary and a normal pension, while the Italian one is a sort of alien compared to his voters?"
Giorgio Saccoia, a spokesman for the big public sector union CGIL, said
: 'We know that we needed an emergency budget, and that we would have to make sacrifices. But we hoped the people in power would lead by example. There's been little sign of it."
The new cabinet headed by economist Mario Monti plans to reduce both the number and the salaries of the Italian MPs. Anyway Italy is a parliamentary democracy. Therefore, in order to cut parliamentarians' privileges, the government will need to win over the vote of the... parliamentarians! A hard task indeed.