CRATS spent €7.5m (£6.6m) on private jets in four years and €20,000 on gifts during 2008-2010, including Tiffany jewellery and fountain pens, according to data collected by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism
The figures, which were mostly obtained via parliamentary questions asked by independent Austrian MEP Martin Ehrehauser, also show that that European Commission president José Manuel Barroso racked up a €28,000 bill during a four-night stay at the New York Peninsula Hotel with eight assistants.
The EC that he runs also blew €300,000 on “cocktail parties” in 2009 alone. One event subsidised by EU taxpayers cost €75,000 and promised guests “state-of-the-art technology, challenging art, combined with trendy cocktails, surprising performances and top DJs”.
The figures will stoke controversy as the EU demands a 4.9 per cent budget increase despite a period of austerity cuts in member states.
Ehrehauser, MEP, said: “It is extremely disappointing to see how easily the Commission spends the EU taxpayers’ money... This makes the gap between citizens and the EU bureaucracy even bigger and deeper.”