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EU chief spent £24k on private plane to Rome


European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and his team racked up a €27,000 (£24,450) bill by travelling to Rome on a private plane.

Documents detailing expenses of the EU commissioners were released after a battle with the transparency campaign group Access Info.
The documents, covering two months last year, show that the 28 commissioners accumulated a nearly €500,000 (£452,770) expenses bill for EU taxpayers over the period.
The revelation is likely to rile Eurosceptics, who have long viewed the EU as money-wasting bureaucracy. Nigel Farage called the use of the private jet by Mr Juncker “outrageous” and “clearly over the top”.
The Commission President, as part of a nine-person delegation, chartered a so-called ‘air taxi’ for a roughly two-hour flight from Brussels to Rome on 25-26 February at a cost of €26,351 euros (£23,862).
Commissioners are allowed to charter private jets when there are no commercial options available.

Image: Jean-Claude Juncker travelled to Downing Street in April
According to the website for Brussels Airport, there are currently six flights a day connecting the two capitals, and an extra flight departs from Brussels South Charleroi airport.

Mr Juncker’s mission to Rome included meetings with then-Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the Italian President, as well as the speakers of both houses of Parliament.
The Commission said the use of private jets is within its expenses rules.
Deputy chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said the private jet was chartered because there was “no viable commercial plane available that would fit the President’s agenda”, and said the cost came to €2,927 (£2,650) per person.
Ms Andreeva also said officials use their time on air taxis to read documents and carry out other work.
“So I think you will be disappointed as to the travelling experience,” she said.

Source: Sky