By Martin Banks - 8th November 2012
They live in a self-important bubble
Staff at EU institutions who walked out on strike yesterday to protest at possible budget cuts have been accused of living in a "self-important bubble".
The staff say that possible cuts to be considered at a summit by EU leaders later this month may adversely affect their pay and conditions.
The leader of one of the unions involved, USF, warned that more action will be considered over the coming weeks.
USF president Sylvie Jacobs said this might include another stoppage during the 22-23 November summit which has been convened to consider EU spending plans up to 2020.
Jacobs said, "It is quite likely we have to take further action over the coming days."
It was thought that the walk out would mostly involve staff in the council of ministers.
However, it is believed the 24 hour industrial action affected each of the three main EU institutions in Brussels, with an estimated 90 per cent of employees at parliament failing to show up for work on Thursday.
The unions fear that any budget cuts agreed at the summit later this month may directly affect staffing and leave key projects without sufficient personnel.
Union representatives claim that any attempt to cut the administrative costs of running the EU and its institutions was likely to affect those on lower pay grades rather than the best-paid functionaires.
The UK is among the countries which have complained about EU staffing levels with its prime minister David Cameron demanding directly a crackdown on EU costs.
Reaction was swift with Ukip leader Nigel Farage describing the walkout by EU staff as "incredible".
Farage said, "Over 1000 eurocrats already earn more than Cameron yet they have the cheek to demand pay rises while EU institutions order cuts for everybody else.
"They live in a self-important bubble cut-off from the harsh economic reality in Europe engendered by the EU policies they demand.
"Their axiom seems to be, 'Cream for us, austerity is for the taxpaying plebs'. The eurocrat sense of entitlement for money and power is frightening."