To continue our series on a day in the life of MEPs we spoke with Kaja Kallas, an Estonian MEP, to have a look into her day to day life at the European Parliament.
A Day in the Life of an MEP…
My days usually start at 6 am when I get up, prepare breakfast, and everything my son needs for school. At 6.40 I wake him up and by 7.30 we have managed to eat breakfast, dress, and even play a little bit before catching the school bus at 7.37. After waving him good-bye I go for a run in the park. Then I rush to the office and try to be there at 9.
By 9 am I’m in the office, days at the office are very different depending on whether it is a group or a committee week. Committee weeks are usually more intense than group weeks. A typical committee week day starts with a meeting at 9 and possibly even a voting session. I am a member of ITRE and IMCO committees. As they are very often at the same time, there is a scheme in my calendar with the agenda of each committee and an indication of which committee I should be at for which item. This involves a lot of running between meeting rooms. Often my phone shows that I have walked more than 15 kilometres by the end of the day (this includes the morning run).
As I get a lot of speaking invitations, these have to fit in my calendar between meetings, votes and briefings. This week, I had six speaking engagements with topics varying from digital issues to copyright and parliamentary ethics. In deciding which invitations to accept my office even takes into account the distance to the venue to make sure that I’ll be everywhere in time. The events usually run over time and afterwards there are a lot of people who want to talk to me before leaving the venue. So this again means a lot of speed walking (that is how I stay fit) and frequent apologies for being late.
At lunch time, I try to have eat with my office at the Parliament’s canteen as my mother is a doctor and insists that I have proper lunch
There are also a lot of stakeholders who want to meet to discuss the legislation I am working on. These meetings are scheduled in between the speaking engagements and committee meetings and sometimes I might also have lunch while listening to their concerns. I know that it is not polite, but one only has 24 hours a day.
If I’m lucky enough, then I have time to write. Before coming here, I read a book about the European Parliament, which said that one of the biggest struggles of an MEP is not to vanish from the picture on the local scene, but be active and efficient in Brussels at the same time. This is why I regularly update my own blog and try to take time to explain my work, experience and sometimes just observations in Brussels.
I’ll try to rush home around 6 pm (I don’t always succeed) to play and have dinner with my son before he goes to bed. After he has fallen asleep, I prepare lunch for the next day (so he has something to eat when coming from school), do the laundry, and run other necessary errands.
Before I fall asleep I always try to read books. Usually I go for Estonian literature, for entertainment and to clean my mind and get rid of work thoughts. Otherwise it can be hard to fall asleep.
Kaja keeps her own blog here: http://kajakallas.ee/ with both English and Estonian pieces