Myth: European Commission employees are over-paid and whatsmore do not pay tax.
Response: All European civil servants are subject to income tax. This is deducted at source, and is paid into the Community budget. The rate paid varies from 10% to 45% depending upon marital status and family situation. Moreover, civil servants do not benefit from any tax relief (eg. for cars, mortgages, etc.) and are subject to local, municipal taxes.
The European Commission does indeed make sure that its employees are well paid, and it is in the Member States’ interest that Community employees are competent and independent as they have to deal with a demanding, multilingual environment, yet it should be borne in mind that their salaries are not excessively high, and they get relatively few fringe benefits. For instance diplomats working in Brussels for their respective Member State Governments earn on average between 30% and 50% more than the equivalent grade Community official. Indeed the Commission has difficuties recruiting in certain fields (such as British lawyers or financial advisers, or German or French computer experts) for exactly this reason.
Contrary to practices normally undertaken by national authorities European Community civil servants’ salaries are published in the Official Journal of the European Communities and are therefore open to scrutiny.