The anti-EU agitprop outfit Open Europe has been huffing and puffing over the golden goodbyes that await those European Commissioners who will be put out to pasture when the current Commission’s five year mandate comes to an end later this year. Among their number is thought to be our own Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel who, after five years of service in Brussels stands to receive approximately 270,000 euros of ‘transition money’ before her 43,000 euro a year pension kicks in.
The 66-year old Dane, who sports a trademark shock of snow white hair, has invoked the spirit of Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston in the L’Oréal commercials, insisting the payout is entirely justifiable “because I’m worth it”. It’s just as well that the Commission scheme is so generous since Fischer Boel, who together with her husband owns several large livestock farms, is too old to qualify for the EU-funded early retirement scheme for farmers, which pays out a maximum of €18,000 a year to farmers who quit before turning 55. The typical ruse is for farmers approaching 55 to “retire” and apply for the early retirement money while passing the legal title of the farm on to a son or daughter who, in all likelihood, will qualify for an EU-funded young farmers startup grant worth up to €40,000. Both continue to work on the farm as before.