ON this day in 1952, the High Authority of the European Coal And Steel Community assumed office ? the forerunner of what is now the European Commission of the European Union.
To mark the anniversary, here are 60 facts and figures taken from The EU In A Nutshell by Dr Lee Rotherham of the TaxPayers? Alliance and a leading expert on the European Union.
1 Of the 32,949 European Commission staff only 1,322 (4 per cent) are British.
2 A whopping £1.5billion per year is spent on pay and primary allowances to European Commission staff.
3 The Commission?s budget for furniture and office equipment alone totals £69.8million.
4 The Commission?s budget dedicates £6.3million to ?inter-institutional co-operation in the social sphere? which funds holiday centres, staff clubs, sports centres and medals for long-serving or retiring staff.
Millions lavished on limousines, nonsensical initiatives and costly art. On their 60th anniversary, we take a look at the eye-watering wastefulness of our Eurocrats
5 Across the EU there are 15 private European Schools for staff, run at a cost of £122million per year.
6 MEPs? salaries cost the European taxpayer £52.6million per year but their travel expenses are £66.8million.
7 The European Parliament?s £3.9million budget to cover the cost of staff joining, transferring or leaving last year included compensation for a probationary official ?because his work is obviously inadequate?.
8 About £5.1million is set aside to run the European Parliament?s vehicle fleet, which includes chauffeur-driven cars and a bicycle collection.
9 The European Parliament sets aside £1.97million each year for its cultural activities budget that funds, among others, a peace prize and a prize for European cinema.
10 Each year £110,000 is given to the European Parliamentary Association, a club for serving MEPs. It organises conferences, debates, dinners, concerts and sports-bar-style gatherings, with an HQ in Strasbourg.
11 Even when you kick them out of office, MEPs remain aboard the Brussels gravy train. The European Parliament has a £157,000 annual budget to fund meetings of the association of former MEPs.
12 The Parliament has an art collection of more than 350 paintings and sculptures, including Le Prophète (a sculpture of a walnut on a pedestal in a hand shake), Blackmagic (a naked woman sitting by an upturned flower vase as lightning splits a neighbouring dog asunder) and Blue Exercise (an image of a woman?s genitalia).
13 As part of the mission to promote a common European identity, £43million is earmarked each year for political factions in the European Parliament, such as the Party of European Socialists, to fund political activities.
14 At meetings of the European Council, the UK holds just 29 votes out of 345 (8.4 per cent).
15 The European Court of Justice spent £17.2million on judges? salaries and allowances last year, with the wages bill for their 1,954 support staff amounting to £158million.
16 Despite remaining outside the eurozone, the UK was still contributing £46million to the European Central Bank as of 2010 as its assigned share of capital.
17 The European Commission has formed working groups for consultation purposes including: High Level Group On Gender Mainstreaming, Classification Of Beef Carcasses, Cinema Expert Group and of course the Expert Group Dialogue On The Use Of Sex As An Actuarial Factor.
18 Among many campaign groups lobbying and providing advice to the European Commission are the European Ice Cream Association, the European Squirrel Initiative and at least eight claiming to represent the Order of the Knights Templar.
19 The infamous EU food mountains and wine lakes remain. As of 2010 these included 62,103 hectolitres of alcohol (enough to fill two-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools), 4.53 million tonnes of cereals and 194,806 tonnes of skimmed milk powder.
20 In 2011 a £197,000 grant was made for a study on consumer acceptance in the EU and elsewhere of pig meat and meat products from male pigs not surgically castrated, with £24,000 available for setting up a website.
21 In 2010 the cost of the Common Agriculture Policy to the UK was calculated to be £10.3billion ? £398 for every household in the country.
22 Among the more unlikely recent British recipients of Common Agricultural Policy grants were: HM Prison Service (£290,000), Cambridge Pet Crematorium (£69,000), a steam engine museum (£37,700), Westminster City Council (£17,500), Eton College (£5,300) and Belfast International Airport (£1,500).
23 The biggest current EU spending package on a transport system upgrade is on the railway from Berlin in Germany to Palermo in Sicily, costing an eye-watering £763million.
24 In 2008 alone, the EU had a £162.3million budget for communication ? three times that for tackling fraud and two-and-a-half times that for negotiating international trade on behalf of member states.
25 The European Commission?s Directorate-General (Communications) enjoys a £6.5million budget to support debates, events and conferences simply to ?enhance the European Union?s profile?.
26 There is a £2million pot to support trips by schoolchildren and others to the European Commission, with a further £16,000 available to fund meals for visitors to European Commissioners.
27 A £7.5million budget exists to support the teaching of EU integration via the Jean Monnet programme, which has supported 1,650 professors in 72 countries over the past two decades.
28 A budget of £2million supports the EU?s cultural ambassadors such as the European Saxophone Ensemble, with previous ambassadors including French singer Charles Aznavour and British Labour MP Keith Vaz.
29 Since 2006 the EU has spent £55million of its international aid budget on the Regional Drought Preparedness Programme for the Horn of Africa.
30 When the Italian government won an additional milk quota worth £188.7million in 2009, it owed £1.45billion in unpaid milk fines.
31 In 2009-10, 699 people were surrendered by the UK under European Arrest Warrants while only 71 were surrendered to the UK.
32 While the UK government has MI5, the European Commission has DS.2 ? its own point of contact with national intelligence services, a unit responsible for gathering intelligence on threats relating to Commission security.
33 The EU spends an annual £102.2million on interpreters yet one sixth of their time is wasted due to meetings being cancelled at the last minute.
34 When a German news channel took swabs from lavatories in the European Parliament, 41 out of 46 tested positive for cocaine.
35 Thanks to the Common Fisheries Policy, the number of fishermen in the UK has dropped from 21,443 in 1970 to 12,700 in 2008.
36 The UK?s net imports of fish hit £975million in 2006, to replace lost domestic fishing capacity.
37 The Common Fisheries Policy costs every UK household £3.58 a week in shopping trolley terms.
38 In 2007 British fishermen threw 23,600 tonnes of cod, 31,048 of haddock and 6,000 of whiting back into the sea to comply with the Common Fisheries Policy.
39 The EU has a £3.1billion International Relations budget run by the External Action Service.
40 The EU has usurped the power of member states by declaring itself the sole negotiating authority in 41 international agreements.
41 Incredibly there are 11 EU defence institutions including the Civilian Planning And Conduct Capacity and the EU Institute for Security Studies.
42 A handbook listing the offices of lobbying operations set up in Brussels by regions runs to 136 pages. As of 2008, Devon alone had seven lobbying staff in Brussels.
43 The European Investment Bank, which is financially autonomous from the European Commission, has capital of £183billion and about 1,000 staff.
44 The EU?s Central Library has an annual buying budget of £2.1million. Its cost-effectiveness adds up to £560 per book loaned.
45 The barely known body called the European Group On Ethics In Science And New Technologies has investigated moral issues such as those surrounding doping in sport and animal cloning.
46 A building specifications manual for Commission offices runs to 398 pages with 16 types of trolley identified for use in the kitchens under regulations.
47 The European Institute For Gender Equality has an annual operating budget of £4.6million.
48 EU satellite programmes are managed by the European GNSS Supervisory Authority, with the Galileo programme alone intended to consist of 30 satellites.
49 The European Security and Defence College is headquartered in Brussels but is a virtual college with courses in five countries.
50 The European Police College, based in Hampshire, organises 60-100 courses and seminars each year and may be the prototype for a proposed College Of European Diplomacy.
51 The European University Institute based in Florence, which began in 1972, has an annual operating budget of £41million.
52 The British Government estimates the EU is responsible for 31 per cent of UK red tape, costing £7.1billion in new red tape per year.
53 If EU staff go on strike, a whopping £21.2million a day is saved on salaries.
54 The civil servant in charge of the European Parliament reportedly earns £170,000 per year. Britain?s Baroness Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, earns £230,000.
55 An EU Ambassador to Africa earns an estimated £149,500 a year before bonuses.
56 The MEPs? limousine budget is £4.1million, with committee chairmen, political group leaders, the President and ? for a set period past presidents ? eligible for their own car and driver.
57 Of a £2.4million grant once intended for irrigation and greenhouses in Spain, 98 per cent was spent on cardboard boxes.
58 A Commission official once claimed a reported ransom of £7.9million after staging his own kidnap in Colombia.
59 The UK?s gross contribution to the EU budget since joining equates to £238billion.
60 UK exports to EU states are worth £273billion annually whereas imports from the EU into the UK are worth £325billion, giving the UK an EU trade deficit of £52billion.