Sunday, 13 May 2018
Kinnock denies his Brussels pension depends on loyalty to the EU
The line that people due an EU pension risk losing that pension if they oppose the EU is one that is commonly heard. So I was interested to read this article https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/kinnock-denies-brussels-pension-depends-12631902 which reports:
'Lord Kinnock has dismissed as "rubbish" claims that his pension as a former European Union Commissioner depends on his loyalty to the EU.
The pro-Brexit campaign group Change Britain argues that ex-commissioners including Lord Kinnock and Lord Mandelson who are now in the House of Lords "face losing these pensions following Brexit, and therefore have a vested interest in frustrating the process of leaving the EU".
"The idea that we have any obligations of deference to the EU because we receive pensions is a myth that has no substance in reality. Neither I, nor I'm sure my colleagues, would ever accept such a limit on our freedom of expression and there has never been any legal or political requirement that we should.'
However The Telegraph https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/4996440/Lord-Mandelson-must-remain-loyal-to-EU-to-guarantee-pension.html reported this in 2009:
'Lord Mandelson must remain loyal to EU to guarantee pension
Critics say the requirement to remain loyal to his former employer means the Business Secretary could be unable to stand up for British interests in disputes with Brussels.
However, European Union rules show that if he speaks out against Europe as a former Commissioner he could be stripped of his pension altogether.
Documents seen by campaigners show that Lord Mandelson and other Commissioners have to abide by certain obligations "both during and after their term of office".
One of these obligations as a staff member of the Commission is to maintain a "duty of loyalty to the Communities".
The rules also note that "an official has the right to freedom of expression, with due respect to the principles of loyalty and impartiality".
If they fail to demonstrate loyalty to the EU, Lord Mandelson can be "deprived of his right to a pension or other benefits", the rules say.
Matthew Elliott, the alliance's chief executive, added: "It is wrong that Peter Mandelson is effectively being paid to support the Euro and the Lisbon Treaty.
"His EU pension is conditional on continuing to support to EU integration, which is not what the public wants.
"This financial interest means that his loyalties are to Brussels, not Britain. He must declare the conflict of interest and either relinquish his EU pay cheques or resign as a minister."'
A disagreement on facts that could be easily resolved if the regulations re payment of EU pensions were available to check. Maybe the BBC could fact check these two contradictory statements.
There I would leave this report but for spotting this at the end of the Telegraph article:
'A spokesman for Lord Mandelson said with most pension providers there were "undertakings that don't bring the organisation paying the pension into disrepute".
He added: "Peter Mandelson does not see a contradiction between British patriotism and EU loyalty.
"He has always had a clear view of British interests and how they are secured by our EU membership."'
I'll repeat the key paragraph:
'A spokesman for Lord Mandelson said with most pension providers there were "undertakings that don't bring the organisation paying the pension into disrepute".'
So are Peter Mandelson and his spokesman disagreeing with each other? It seems that his spokesman is agreeing, in principle, with The Telegraph.