WOW: Some EU Foreign Diplomats Entitled To Five Months Of Paid Vacation

Catherine Ashton

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Department of State

EU Foreign Service diplomats are entitled to 83 days — a little over four months —  of paid vacation a year, The Telegraph reports.They can also take two more weeks off for “professional training in Brussels”, and diplomats working in 30 EU delegations in countries like South Sudan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan can take an additional special leave for two more weeks, along with “two days travelling time and a paid business-class journey to Brussels or Phuket for the official and his/her family”.

This brings the total vacation time of those in the European External Action Service (EEAS) to about 21 weeks, or almost half the year, according to a “working document” produced by Dr. Ingeborg Graessle, a German Christian Democrat MEP.

“Given the lengthy periods of absence from work for whatever reason, some posts in third countries are effectively half-time posts for which a full salary is paid,” Dr. Graessle said.

Dr. Graessle also said that MEPs have been demanding a change to staff perks, which date back to the 1960s, the BBC reports. She is pushing for a rule that would limit diplomats’ holidays to 49 days, with special leave cut to 15 days.

Catherine Ashton, who heads the EEAS, is committed to the change, her spokesman has said. The European Parliament is currently considering cutting staffing levels and halving vacation time. But Dr. Graessle argues this isn’t enough. “We have member states’ ambassadors sitting in economy class while EEAS officials sit in business class,” she said.

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