Despite being paid six figure salaries, 1,962 of EU's most senior civil servants have been allowed to join a "flexitime" scheme, originally meant for lower paid secretarial staff, that gives an extra 24 days off work every year for those that put in an extra 45 minutes a day in the office.
The perk comes on top of annual holidays of 24 days as well as seven days off for public holidays, and in 2010, 11 "non-working" days out of the office when the Brussels institutions are closed in summer and at Christmas.
The allowances mean that last year many EU staff were entitle to 66 days or 13 weeks or a quarter of the year off work.
Inge Grassler, the German Christian Democrat MEP who uncovered the time off perk, has urged that the "flexitime" is tightened up to exclude senior EU officials, whose working hours are not measured by the clock.
"This information must mean the death of the myth of the hard-working Commission official," she said.
"I have no sympathy for time off in leadership roles. Those who earn six figures must sometimes be willing to work more than 37.5 hours – as is customary in industry."
Stephen Booth, of the Open Europe pressure group, said: "If the top ranks of the EU's civil service can take this much time off it raises interesting questions about how much work they're actually doing."And if that was not frightening enough:
On Tuesday, Bavaria's Christian Democrats, key allies of Chancellor Merkel, declared that a "radical overhaul" of EU pay and privileges was long overdue.Besides, as Mr Waterfield reminds us, one must not forget that David Cameron has "wooed" Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel into accepting the notion of freezing future Brussels budgets. Oh no! Not the great budget freeze! Just look how successful it was this time round.
Markus Ferber, a senior German MEP, said: "The privileges of EU officials must be abolished as quickly as possible."