Margit Spindelegger is Austria’s best-paid civil servant.
How is that Margit Spindelegger is one of 36 heads of unit in Austria’s court of auditors, but according to this week’s edition of Profil, a Vienna news magazine, she is Austria’s best-paid civil servant – as well as being the wife of Austria’s foreign minister, Michael Spindelegger?
Profil relates that Margit Spindelegger is on a six-year secondment from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) in Luxembourg, where she had been working since 1996. She had joined the European Commission in 1995, the year that Austria joined the EU and Spindelegger became a member of the European Parliament (he went back to national politics the following year). In January 2008, Margit Spindelegger began her secondment to the Austrian administration, where she oversees national audits of EU-funded education and science projects. From that moment, the ECA began paying the difference between her salary from the Austrian administration and what she would have been receiving if she had stayed in Luxembourg. When she went back to Vienna, her husband was in the political wilderness having been sidelined by a rival faction within his centre-right Austria People’s Party. But at the end of that year he became foreign minister after a snap election.
Entre Nous feels obliged to point out that Austria was among the nine EU member states that were pressing recently in a meeting of the Council of Ministers for further cuts in the EU’s administrative spending, including on pay, pensions and promotions.
Reducing the salaries and allowances of staff who are not working for the EU institutions but are on secondment would probably not save much money. But, in Austria at least, it would have a powerful symbolic effect.
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