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Canteen price hikes in European Parliament infuriate staff
Workers in the European parliament in Brussels are up in arms about yet another price increase in the building’s canteen. Prices for meals and snacks shot up by 25% last week, when many of the workers were away on holiday.
The prices overall in the canteen were already higher than in other EU buildings, such as the Commission and the Council. Unions have filed a formal complaint, according to Politico.
A spokesperson said the increase was due to new contracts with suppliers, which started on 5 August and included an increase in VAT and the elimination of some €5 million in subsidies. “The end of the direct food subsidies in 2015 and the gradual pricing linked to developments in the food prices in the market allowed for a 70% cut in Parliament’s budget allocated to the food and restaurants sector,” the spokesperson told Politico.
While it might seem to the non-EU workers among us that well-heeled bureaucrats should not be complaining about paying €8 for starters, the newspaper points out that the canteen is used by a great many workers on average salaries, such as security personnel, cleaners and administrative staff.
And the discrepancies in prices between institutions is curious: While the Council’s canteen never charges more than €8 for a steak with fries, and the Commission asks €9.17, the comparable dish in Parliament will set you back €11.50. Top it off with a slice of cheesecake for €4.70 – or head to the Commission and buy the same thing for €2.74.
One employee told Politico that he could live with the prices and that the food was not bad. But, he added: “I think it’s better in Strasbourg.”
Photo courtesy European Parliament