New Research: EU diplomats spend £3.4 billion promoting 'a country called Europe'

  • EU foreign service now costs £3.4 billion a year
  • The property portfolio of EU embassies is worth £55 million
  • EU ambassadors earn up to £244,000 a year
  • Former ambassador to Washington DC expresses concern at report's findings

A new study by the TaxPayers' Alliance reveals the huge size, scope and cost of the EU's own diplomatic service, which has quietly grown to effectively challenge the British Foreign Office around the globe. The report, which includes a foreword by Sir Antony Acland KG, GCMG, GCVO, former UK ambassador to the USA between 1986 and 1991, exposes the way in which the European Union's External Relations programme has used huge quantities of British taxpayers' money to progressively usurp the nation's global standing.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Key findings

  • Brussels has developed an identity on the world stage in its own right. The EU now has a budget of €3.9 billion (£3.4 billion) a year to be spent on its international affairs programme, called the External Relations programme. This is distinct from its international development budget.
  • It spends another €28 million (£25 million) (excluding actual civil service wages) on having a Common Foreign and Security Policy supremo.
  • EU embassies already exist in name; their property portfolio outside of the EU comes to €63 million (£55 million)
  • Staff enjoy considerable remuneration. Already-generous wages can include additional weighting, up to 45% above those paid to their colleagues back in Brussels. This would work out pre-tax as up to €278,000 (£244,000) annually..
  • On top of their salaries, EU diplomats enjoy such perks as adoption grants, expat allowances, entertainment allowances and own-car grants if they don’t get a chauffeur.

Dr Lee Rotherham, EU Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“British taxpayers are funding EU diplomats to supplant our own Foreign Office around the world. The EU has its own agenda that is often in conflict with British national interests, but they are still pursuing it using our money. While the Foreign Office talks about the EU serving Britain’s needs, well-paid employees of Brussels are promoting a country called Europe around the globe. It is astonishing that British ministers are still in denial about the way this harms our international standing”

Sir Antony Acland, KG, GCMG, and GCVO, formerly Her Majesty's Ambassador to Washington DC 1986-1991, said:

"This short paper comes at a timely moment, at a period when the Treaty of Lisbon remains unratified and many of its consequences properly unexplored, not least the financial ones. Members of the public will surprised at just how active the EU’s own diplomatic corps already is today. The EU Constitution in the form of the Treaty of Lisbon will take the process even further."

To download the full report, click here.


For all media enquiries, further quotes or to set up interviews, please contact:

Mark Wallace, Campaign Director at the TaxPayers' Alliance, on:
[email protected]
07795 084 113

Notes to Editors

1) The TaxPayers' Alliance, Britain's independent, grassroots campaign for lower taxes and better government, joined forces with Global Vision, the think tank promoting an alternative relationship with Europe, in January 2009 to launch a campaign revealing the full cost of the EU to British taxpayers and consumers.

2) The full report can be read or downloaded in PDF format here: 

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