A day in the life of an MEP

14-09-11 Zdechovsky portrait Bxl-8After spending last week in Strasbourg, Tomáš Zdechovský (pictured) recounts a day in his life of being an MEP. 

Many have a very distorted view on what Members of the European Parliament actually do. Since the beginning of my mandate, I have been trying to shed a bit of light on our work and I have encouraged citizens to interest themselves in what their representatives are paid for. On numerous occasions I have been trying to make an account of an ordinary day in a life of an MEP. But “an ordinary day” is quite an understatement. Indeed, now and then you find Members who are not so devoted to working habits but majority of my colleagues experience days like these often. Let me thus draw you a picture about one day in my life.

In Strasbourg I am usually staying in a hostel reminding me of a high school dormitory. It is located about two kilometres away from the Parliament, in the middle of an old Jewish quarter. Streets are lined with beautiful buildings and the air smells like old times. Today, I wake up at 6 a.m., early enough to have a shower and manage my e-mails. I go jogging sometimes, but not today, the rain discourages me. Instead, I walk to the Parliament on foot. When I am approaching my office, I see a colleague winking at me with amusement. I touch my face: my thick moustache is itching and I cannot wait for the Movember to end.

I start my working day with a French lesson with my lecturer Isabelle. Today I need to finish earlier because we have a work breakfast with other Czech MEPs, a regular event we organize every Tuesday during plenary session. We discuss the hot topic of division of Google and a case of Czech children that are held by Norwegian authorities – an issue that I take lot of interest in. At 9 a.m. I have a preparatory meeting with the budget committee. The debate on a new draft of budget 2015 is high on the agenda. An hour later, I am rushing to have a coffee with my colleagues and meanwhile I am collecting their signatures under an open letter addressing the issue of the children in Norway. Many of my colleagues express their support for me and regard it as a highly important act.

At 11 a.m., we are slowly moving to the hemicycle to listen to the speech of the Pope, who is attending the session today. He addresses the Parliament with an inspiring speech that moves several of us to tears. At one point, the voice of the Italian interpreter breaks. Later, I intend to have a quick lunch but it takes longer than expected since most of the staff have had the same idea. I arrived a few minutes later to the meeting with the regional director of Google; we have many important topics to discuss. After the meeting, I am heading back to the hemicycle to listen to the presentation of Federica Mogherini on recognition of Palestine. I intervene twice; engaging in this debate is of utmost importance.

When I get back to my office, it is already dark outside. I review incoming emails and peek on Facebook and Twitter. At 7 p.m. I am heading to a Group meeting which finishes two hours later. I and my team then go to a dinner, over which we discuss the agenda for the next day. We eventually get back to the hotel at 10.30 p.m. And there is still a full inbox awaiting me…

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