Published On: Tue, Sep 24th, 2019

EU to splurge millions more on private jets for chiefs despite climate change promise | World | News

Shock figures show the EU has raised its “air taxi” flights budget by more than €3.5million (£3.09million) despite pledging to cut emissions in the fight against climate change. The EU’s tender database showed the budget will rise to €10.71 million (£9.47million) from 2016 to 2021, which is a 50 per cent hike on the budget of €7.14 million (£6.31million).

The spending splurge comes despite new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledging to raise the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target to at least 50 percent from 1990 levels and promises to set a 2050 climate neutrality goal.

The bloc’s original contract for travel said it was for the “provision of air-taxi transport services (chartered jet aeroplanes) for use by the President or other members of the European Commission, for the European Parliament Presidency, for the President of the European Council, for the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and any accompanying persons, mostly in the European Union,” according to politics news site,

This was for approximately 871 flight hours to destinations including Berlin, Stuttgart and Strasbourg.

But this was changed when a new notice said “analysis of expenditure during the period already elapsed has led to the conclusion that this threshold will not suffice to cover the needs of the European institutions until the expiry date of the contract i.e. 30.4.2021” .


This resulted in the Commission launching “a negotiated procedure to increase the overall maximum threshold of the contract” in March.

However a Commission spokesperson told “This does not mean that the total amount under the contract will be spent.

“The amended contract just provides a guarantee that the threshold will be sufficient to cover the needs of the EU institutions for the remaining period of the contract.”

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Mr Juncker revealed how he was constantly “checking the time” when he met US President Donald Trump over fears he would miss his flight home.

He added: “When I was talking to Donald Trump, I was constantly looking at my watch so that I wouldn’t miss my flight home. 

“Trump kept saying, ‘Your ‘plane can wait!’ He didn’t realise that I didn’t have my own airplane.”

While campaigning for the position of European Commission President in 2014, Mr Juncker complained about his lack of private jet tweeting: “The Americans have Air Force One. I don’t. But I am still campaigning all over Europe! #withJuncker.”

Mr Juncker also sparked controversy when it emerged he had splurged an astonishing £22,500 on a single trip in a private jet to Rome.

The EU Commission chief’s actions were branded “outrageous” after it emerged he used a chartered plane for the short two-hour flight from Brussels to the Italian capital. 

Mr Juncker was visiting the city for an informal meeting with the then Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi which had been organised for some time, making it unclear why he could not take a charter flight. 

The private jet trip was revealed when Spanish NGO Access info won a three-year legal battle with eurocrats and forced them to publish details of Commissioners’ expenses. 

A spokesman for the Commission previously said: “The president always takes chartered flights in line with the existing rules for that.

“More concretely, chartered air transport can only be considered when commercial flights are not available to reach a destination, when they cannot fit with the diary commitments of the president or the members of the College of Commissioners or for security reasons.”

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