Friday, February 04, 2005
We're shortly approaching one of the regular "Constituency Weeks" for MEPs, which are coloured yellow in the Parliament schedules, and are thus snappily nickednamed "yellow weeks". These are weeks where no plenary sessions or committees are held, giving MEPs the chance to, er, work in their constituencies, obviously. I'm sure they'll be haring around their Euro-designated "regions" like greyhounds on speed, canvassing like demons, propagating the Euro-dream with statesmanlike pearls of wisdom cast forth like seeds upon good soil, and in no way simply taking a week off to do their own thing.
The interesting thing at work next week will be MEP-spotting. MEPs have no reasons to be here next week: no plenary, no committees, no receptions, nothing. Nada. Rien. Those who are here, then, are essentially milking their travel allowances. The great scam MEPs have is that no matter what method of travel they use to sally between their homes and Strasbourg/Brussels, they are paid a supremely generous set fee per mile. So, even if they travel by bicycle at minimal cost, they will be paid the same as if they have flown first-class. This obvious result of this is that the cheaper an MEP travels, the more money they trouser from travel allowance. So, those here next week are unlikely to be here for any other reason other than making a cool thousand euros or so from the travel fund.
Nice work if you can get it.