European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton was recently at the receiving end of sharp criticism after the latest estimates for the administrative cost of the European External Action Service reached 399 million pounds (USD620.8 million).
The budget includes an overrun of 29 million pounds, of which 24.6 million pounds will be used to pay eurocrat wages and 4.4 million pounds for renovations of the EEAS’ Brussels headquarters, which has yet to be known, the Telegraph reports.
Critics slammed Ashton for breaking her promise to deliver a neutral EEAS budget, especially at the time when most European countries are implementing austerity measures.
“It is totally unacceptable to break the promise of budget neutrality at a time when people in Britain are facing austerity and cuts. I believe she is flying a kite to see what she can get away with,” Charles Tannock, a London MEP and the U.K. Conservative Party’s foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said according to the Telegraph.
“We need a leaner and meaner EEAS and there is plenty of fat to cut,” Tannock added.
A spokesperson for Ashton defended the EU foreign affairs chief’s commitment to budget neutrality.
“She wants 10 percent efficiency savings for the service but for now there is some start up cost. Budget neutrality is a very clear commitment,” the spokesperson said as quoted by the Telegraph.