Members participate in meetings of the CoR, such as plenary sessions, commission meetings and political group meetings, which in most cases take place in Brussels, although they occasionally take place elsewhere. At times, members are also authorised to participate in meetings that are not organised by the CoR but are of particular interest to its work.
Upon presentation of the supporting documents, members are reimbursed for the actual cost of their transport tickets for attending such meetings, up to business class for air transport and up to first class for travel by rail or boat. If travelling by car, members are reimbursed according to a flat rate per kilometre of EUR 0.30. For their convenience, members may book their transport tickets via the CoR travel agency, in which case the CoR pays directly for them.
Besides the reimbursement of their transport expenses, members receive a flat-rate meeting allowance of EUR 340 per meeting day to cover all their costs at the meeting place (in most cases Brussels), such as meals, hotel fees, etc. This allowance takes into account the relatively high prices of accommodation in Brussels on working days.
Members also receive a flat-rate travel allowance that is based on the total distance of the journey and covers all the costs during the journey. These include, for instance, motorway tolls or vignettes, public transport in Brussels, parking fees at the airport or train station of departure, and meals, drinks and additional hotel fees during the journey or due to an extended stay at the meeting place. This allowance is only paid when the distance of the journey exceeds 200 km and it amounts to EUR 185 per reference unit (one single payment per round trip).
It should be noted that the EU Court of Justice considers that the use of a flat-rate allowance system, which is a common practice in the EU institutions, " arises from a concern to reduce the administrative costs and burdens inherent in a system involving the verification of each individual item of expense and therefore represents sound administration " (judgment of 15 September 1981 in case C-208/80, Lord Bruce of Donington ).
All the aforementioned expenditure is covered by the EU budget and is duly audited.
Remote meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic
The CoR has adopted a number of temporary measures to ensure the CoR's operational capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular its advisory role in the EU decision-making process, while at the same time avoiding health risks for members and staff. To this end, non-essential meetings have been cancelled and essential meetings such as those of the CoR constituent bodies are, to the extent possible, held remotely using electronic means (in some cases hybrid meetings are held with a group of the members located together in the same physical place). In these special circumstances where most members are working from their homes, the CoR pays them a flat-rate remote meeting allowance of EUR 200 per meeting day to cover their office and general expenses in preparing for and participating in meetings.