‘Disgusting!’ British taxpayer fury at new EU chief’s ‘extortionate’ salary

Ms von der Leyen, formerly German defence minister, was confirmed as the replacement for outgoing Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker earlier this week. Salaries throughout the Commission – which is the executive arm of the European Union – are determined by the European Council, the collective body which defines the European Union’s overall political direction. The Council, comprised of Mr Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk, plus the leaders of the EU27 – the countries other than Britain – has determined the President’s salary as €27.903 a month, or €334.836 a year, equivalent to £301,161.

Taxpayers up and down the country will be disgusted at this extortionate salary

Taxpayers’ Alliance spokeswoman

A spokeswoman for the UK-based Taxpayers’ Alliance, which campaigns for a low-tax society, told Express.co.uk: “Taxpayers up and down the country will be disgusted at this extortionate salary, especially as they weren’t expecting to be paying for it anymore.

“Hard pressed families want their money spent on the public services that make a difference in their lives, like the NHS, not handed over to Brussels so that bureaucrats can live in luxury.”

Ms von der Leyen’s salary would put her fourth in a league table of heads of Government published by the IG Group last year.

Only then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (£422,824), Swiss President Alain Berset (£386,861) and US President Donald Trump (£320,410) earn more.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earns £296,160, French President Emmanuel Macron earns £176,634 and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varakar is on £187,797.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May – due to leave Downing Street shortly – gets less than all of them: £170,015.

Ms von der Leyen’s ratification in the European Parliament proved problematic, and she only scraped home with 383 votes – just nine more than the minimum threshold.

The 60-year-old mother of seven is an advocate of a European Army and an opponent of Brexit.

She has faced criticism from among others Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who told the European Parliament: “Thank God we’re leaving!”

Former German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel, who stepped down from his role last Sunday (June 30), was scathing in his assessment of her abilities last week.

He told Express.co.uk: “One needs only to study the reactions of the officers of the German Army, the Bundeswehr, to get an objective picture of her qualification: a big sigh of relief!

“Von der Leyen is responsible for the biggest disarmament of a German army after its defeat in two World Wars.

“Today, the morale of German troops is at an all time low.”

“Rarely have I seen such a complete failure being promoted to a ‘higher position’!

“That leaves me with two conclusions: First, she is deliberately being promoted to make room for a much needed change at the head of the German Bundeswehr.

“Second, this move demonstrates the real importance of the President of the European Commission.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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