Anneleen Van Bossuyt has been an MEP since 2015 and is a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
Describing a typical day in the life of an MEP, is actually an impossible task. And that is not a bad thing, on the contrary. Of course, I need to schedule and plan things weeks ahead, but the variety of things I get to do makes working in the parliament interesting and fun. It’s not a job, it’s an experience.
That said, let’s now describe, not ‘a typical day in the parliament’, but ‘one day in the parliament’.
I usually wake up around 6 AM and check my e-mails. As a Flemish MEP, I have the privilege of living and working in my own country, near my family and friends. The downside is that my day involves quite some commuting. So, after getting myself ready for work, I wake up my son and daughter and prepare their breakfast. Depending on my schedule, I or a friend of the family takes them to school. Then I take the train from the beautiful city of Flanders, my hometown Ghent, to Brussels. Arriving in Brussels half an hour later, I ride my bike to the Parliament.
Between 8 AM and 9 AM I am in the office where I check some more e-mails, handle the most pressing matters and consult my assistants about what’s on today’s schedule. Concretely this means preparing my speaking note for the IMCO committee in the afternoon, discussing at which events to speak, preparing my intervention for tomorrow’s debate on the Brexit and finally deciding on which amendments to table in order to change some committee proposals for the better etc.
Time is running fast and by 10 AM, I have scheduled the first meetings with lobbyists. I am meeting a representative of DPHL on the cross-border parcel delivery file, another person on the Energy Efficiency directive, as well as someone on the e-service card file, three files among many others, which I am responsible for as a (shadow) rapporteur. To the public, lobbyists often have a negative connotation. However, they are of value to us as they can often provide me with expert knowledge and show me the practical consequences of some decisions we make on European level.
At 11.30 AM I am quickly off to the event that I am hosting on Horizon 2020: ‘Towards a more business friendly horizon 2020: Recommendations for the European Commission’. As shadow-rapporteur on the file, I have consulted several companies, SMEs, universities and research facilities over the past few weeks. This gave us a very clear idea of the way in which the program needs to be changed and all of the work culminated in today’s event where I presented 10 recommendations to Commissioner Moedas to make H2020 funding more accessible to companies. With over 70 participants present from across all sectors, I am happy to say that the event was a success!
By 13.30 PM I am finally able to grab a sandwich and walk back to the office. I have some time to relax and chat with my colleagues. By 14 PM I am fully recharged to give an interview to a student, who is doing a PhD on the Europeanization of national political parties. As former assistant at the European Law Department of Ghent University, I am always happy to help students with their final dissertations.
After the interview, I hurry to one of the conference rooms to welcome some of my constituents in the European Parliament. Today, people often look upon the European Union as an alien non-transparent institution, making rules only for itself without taking into account the actual citizens of the Member States. For this reason, I regularly invite schools, organisations and local constituents to the parliament to tell them about who I am and what I do. This is my way of trying to make people understand what the European Union is, what it can do better and what it should stop doing.
At 15 PM a joint ITRE and IMCO committee (I am member of both committees) is taking place on ‘online platforms and the digital single market’, which is very topical at the moment: it is important not to create new boundaries which would prevent the creation of new platforms, but at the same time the classic sectors should be respected. Immediately after this topic is closed, the regular IMCO committee starts, where I am speaking about parcel delivery and the European Accessibility Act.
I am ending my day in Brussels with a shadow meeting on the geoblocking file, an intense meeting where the different political groups are trying to reach a compromise on different detailed aspects of the file.
By 18.30 PM I can finally commute back home, where I am just in time to spend some time with my children before sending them off to bed. To relax and forget the hectic workday, I work out on my cross trainer while, why not, replying to some more e-mails. By 23 PM I head off to bed for a good night’s sleep in preparation of a new day!