Europe in Crisis, Lawmakers Get New iPads

Tuesday, 25 May 2010 | 6:59 AM ET

The European Central bank pumps billions into the European banking system to avert a fully-fledged liquidity crisis. Countries like Spain and Greece are imposing severe austerity measures onto angry voters to avoid a run on their debt markets. People from across the world are fretting over a double-dip recession and worrying about whether they will have a job by the end of the year.

Apple iPad
Getty Images
Apple iPad

Over at the European Parliament, though, 736 representatives from across the euro zone are eagerly awaiting delivery of their new iPads later this week.

The Times newspaper in London reports that Members of the European Parliament from across the continent find their brand new Hewlett-Packard laptops -- recently bought at vast expense to European taxpayers -- cumbersome.

The planned investment in the European Parliament’s IT mobility program is part of a 5 million euro investment plan at a time when national governments, businesses and consumers across the continent cut back on spending.

The driving force behind the idea is Klaus Welle, the parliament’s German secretary-general, who is known as an enthusiast for the Apple iPhone, the Times reported.

The iPad plan was disclosed by a senior bureau source who was too worried to reveal his name.

"We could get rid of our old PCs, some of which have outdated software such as Microsoft Word 2003,” the source told the Times. “The majority of MEPs have already got iPhones and they are very happy with them. The PC was good for its time but the iPad is a much better device.”

Marta Andreasen, the UK Independence Party member and euro skeptic who sits on the budget committee told the Times, “We were told the iPads would actually cut costs as they are not expensive and that we would be able to stay connected while outside the office or on holidays, but many of the older MEPs don’t even know how to use the Internet properly.”

“I am against that because it seems completely unnecessary, especially when European taxpayers are facing such difficult times.”

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