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“Such impertinence!”

Over at EU Referendum under the heading “Caught red-handed” there is an instructive YouTube video. It shows a bunch of MEPs showing up at their place of work at quarter to seven in the morning. Exemplary devotion to duty? Well, no. What they are actually doing, suitcases in hand, is signing the attendance register on a Friday morning before heading home for the weekend. Then they will be paid, most lavishly, for working that day.

The cat really lands among the pigeons around 2 minutes 30 seconds in. Watch the MEPs dodge back behind doors as they register the camera’s unwelcome presence. Listen to the cries and squeals. “It is not your business!” “Such impertinence!” I did not catch the name of the genial chap who claimed to be about to start work in his constituency before running for the door, but Irish MEP Kathy Sinnott (of, I am sorry to say, the EU-sceptic Independence and Democracy Group) said she had already been at work for seven hours, and Hiltrud Breyer of the German Green Party really ought to look at people when she talks to them.

We bloggers often criticise the mainstream media but I take my hat off to Thomas Meier, the intrepid journalist here. He represents a tradition of – literally – foot-in-the-door reporting that the “colleagues” would like to put an end to if they could. In this case, as soon as they could, they did. The fun ends with Herr Meier being escorted out by seven heavies.

If EU Referendum’s video is down, this link might work, or search YouTube for “Expense allowance abuses by MEPs”.

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20 comments to “Such impertinence!”

  • Rob

    Can you imagine the BBC doing a story like that? Laughs loud and long.

  • Rob

    Also, I assume the MEPs don’t live in the Parliament, so I wonder what the carbon footprint was of that German Green hypocrite who travelled in just to dip her snout in the trough?

  • Ian B

    We shouldn’t be too discouraged that MEPs like Kathy Sinnot are at it. People follow the incentives. If everybody else is fiddling the system, especially if it’s a stupid evil system, morality rapidly breaks down. Disappointing but not suprising, IYSWIM.

    Hiltrud Breyer is the funniest, banging into the wall with her coat over her face like a kiddie fiddler going into court past a blue-rinsed rentamob, then believing that if she hides in the corner of the lift she’ll somehow not be noticed (I can’t see you, so you can’t see me

    How anyone can still support this pathetic thing is something I find hard to understand, until I remember being an** EUphile back in my misspent youth.

    **hmm, should that be “a” or “an”? Do we pronounce it “ee you file” or “youfile”

  • Eamon Brennan

    I take it that he doesn’t work for Der Spiegel.

  • WalterBoswell

    Like roaches fleeing from the light.

  • Rob

    I have peered into my crystal ball, and I foresee that the MEPs will propose a ‘reform’ to end this practice. The reform will be that they are no longer required to sign in each day to receive the allowance, they will receive it automatically each month.

  • RAB

    Actually Rob, the BBC have done this exact story before.
    The MEPs were caught pulling this very same scam years ago, and the Commission gave then a very stern talking to.
    Well fat lot of good that did.

    It made my day to see the venal little buggers run and squeal though!

  • Laird

    Isn’t it worth a little money to have them out of the building for a day?

  • Laird, you are channeling Perry now:-)

  • Laird

    Not sure about “channeling Perry,” but I am rather fond of the Will Rogers quote: “Those who complain about the high cost of government should be glad we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for!”

  • Alsadius

    Call me crazy here, but why the hell are MEPs being paid by the day? This seems like a position that should be salaried if there ever was one. The problem is that they have to sign in at all. They’re going to be a waste of money either way, of course, but that’s unavoidable. If they’re slackers, the challengers will beat them over the head for it – I’ve been on a fair number of challenger campaigns, and every one where the incumbent wasn’t universally regarded as a hard worker we’ve thrown in a few cheap shots about “Have you ever seen him?”. In a field with duties as ill-defined as being a parliamentary representative, you really can’t pay by the number of hours that they put in.

  • andy

    Disgusting,fucking greedy snout in the trough scum,the lot of them deserve to be whipped through the streets as the thieves they are.Claiming money for work not done is called fraud where I come from.

  • windy blow

    If it was really corrupt they would be allowed to sign in on Thursday afternoon for the Friday, so they can get away really early for the weekend. At least this way they have to go into the building on Friday.

  • Alsadius

    MEPs are salaried. British MEPs receive a salary of £60,000. They are then paid another £250 a day if they “sign in”.

  • richard mcenroe

    “Hiltrud Breyer of the German Green Party really ought to look at people when she talks to them.”

    Actually, that’s how aristocratic Germans traditionally addressed their lackeys. They never made eye-contact and they never addressed them in the first person.

    Of course, things might have changed since the 30 Years’ War, but not for the self-appointed ruling class of the EU…

  • bob mologna

    I’d cheerfully quintuple the salary for any MEP who agreed to stay home ALL the time.

  • TAF

    Laird is quite right – surely we would gladly pay them MORE if they spent LESS time at work…

    Their salary should be 1 million euros (payable at year end); however, it should decrease by 50% for each day they met after the first day (the swearing in day should be included gratis).

    That might be a proper incentive.

  • Kudos to Mr. Meier.
    It’s refreshing to see a journalist actually get out there and report on injustice rather than participate in covering for it.

    Oink! Oink! to the MEPs involved in this scheme.

  • Sinnott argues that she deserves to be paid because she just stayed up all night working.

    Yeah, I was working all night too, if you know what I mean.

    In her mind that makes sense of the FRAUD of signing in for a day of work beginning at 7am and then taking off.


    The EU is the amalgamation of the worst elements of all its constituent parts.

  • John K

    Also, I assume the MEPs don’t live in the Parliament

    I believe some of them do.

    They get a daily subsistence and hotel allowance. But their offices also have daybeds and en suites. So why not just sleep in the office and still claim for your hotel? It’s only taxpayers’ money after all.