IEPlus: EU institutions hold 42,000 bottles in their cellars

More than 42,000 bottles of red, white and sparkling wines, plus nearly 2,000 of spirits. This is the total amount of bottles stocked in the cellars of the European Commission and of the European Council.

While European leaders failed to reach an agreement over a EU budget, as Friday turns into the week-end, the discussion in Brussels could revert from money to wine, after Martin Ehrenhauser, an Austrian member of the European Parliament, finally got the answer to the question he asked last summer: How many bottles of booze are stocked in the EU cellars?

In an interview with the New York Times, Ehrenhauser said he did not expect such a number. “They should be working, not drinking,” he said.

As reported in the US paper, total wine spending in 2012 reached $170bn. According to Maros Sefcovic, the union’s commissioner for administration, the most expensive bottle in the commission’s cellar cost about $60.

In reply to Ehrenhauser, the European Council said that its own spending on wine has dropped steadily over the past four years, from $115,000 in 2009 to $6,500 in 2012.

Average consumption at its social events amounts to about one glass of wine per participant.

The European Commission didn’t give a breakdown of spending in recent years on wine because that would require “lengthy research” and “it cannot consider doing this at the present time because of other priorities.”

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