‘Outrageous’ Farage rips into EU boss Juncker over extravagant £22,500 private jet to Rome
BRUSSELS boss Jean-Claude Juncker was today slammed for outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money after it emerged he splurged an astonishing £22,500 on a single trip in a private jet to Rome.
The EU Commission chief’s actions were branded “outrageous” after it emerged he used a chartered plane for the short two-hour flight from Brussels to the Italian capital.
Mr Juncker was visiting the city for an informal meeting with the then Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi which had been organised for some time, making it unclear why he could not take a charter flight.
Eurosceptic politicians today branded the top eurocrat’s actions “outrageous” and said they demonstrated once more which Britain needs to uncouple itself from the chronic waste of Brussels.
The private jet trip was revealed this morning after the Spanish NGO Access info won a three-year legal battle with eurocrats and forced them to publish details of Commissioners’ expenses.
Activists published swathes of claims from January and February 2016 which show that Mr Juncker also charged an astonishing £1,586 for a one-night trip to Berlin and £659 travel costs for a single trip to the EU parliament in Strasbourg.
Anti-EU campaigners have long predicted that secretive Brussels expenses, which are kept under lock and key by eurocrats, would reveal instances of chronic waste by EU officials.
In total, the data dump shows that the EU’s 28 Commissioners plus other high-ranking eurocrats splurged nearly half a million pounds on travel, hotel and food and drink expenses in just two months at the beginning of last year.
Reacting to the revelations, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: "Outrageous! Juncker spending 27 thousand euro on a private jet at taxpayers' expense is clearly over the top especially when many normal flights are available.”
Slamming the EU’s demands for Brexit cash, he added: “I suppose these junket expenses are all part of the make-believe 'Brexit bill' which these Commissioners have plucked out of thin air and trying to extort from our government."
Fellow Ukip MEP Jonathan Arnott raged: “Of course EU Commissioners need to travel; many of us wish they'd travel somewhere far away - and stay there. But how many of these missions are truly needed in the first place?
“Chartering planes and authorising what presumably adds up to millions of euros of our taxes a year in travel is another indication of how the Commission is acting like a government, not a 'civil service' as apologist Remainers like to claim.
"It is imperative that the EU now comes fully clean on its travel expenses, the excuse that it costs too much to check just isn't good enough. This is European taxpayer's money, and the taxpayer has the right to know what is being done with it.”
Today’s revelations are not the first time that Mr Juncker’s use of private jets has hit the headlines. Last year it emerged that the EU boss uses a fleet of planes to travel between Brussels and Strasbourg.
The £11.3 million a year operation, mockingly duubbed ‘EU Force One’, comes on top of the £200,000 the EU parliament spends to charter two trains to ferry MEPs between the Belgian capital and its French base.
And just last month it emerged that the Commission splashed £57,000 on a private plane - or an ‘air taxi’ as it is dubbed by eurocrats - to fly him from Brussels to a meeting in Turkey.
Mr Farage reacted to that story by drily joking that the amount was “just the bar tab” - a reference to the EU boss’ reputation in EU circles for enjoying a drink at meetings.