In the frame of the Future Lab Europe programme 2012 there was a unique activity: shadowing a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for a day. I have never had an opportunity to follow a MEP for 10 hours and get an idea how their agenda looks, what kind of tempo it has, and the type of activities that are included.
When I arrived at the European Parliament, I did not know what to expect. I met MEP`s assistant at 8 o’clock in the morning and she told me that there is a busy day ahead of us. And, truly it was! Before actually meeting my MEP, I followed two meetings – one on the topic of the UK perspective on protection of private data and the second was an economic affairs meeting. I was surprised how detailed and devoted were the participants in their questions, and it was interesting the see how arguments are presented and debates are held. For example, on the second meeting one representative wanted to comment on the nontransparent work of the European Central Bank by saying that the ECB is like Vatican, its president is like the Pope and everything is decided behind closed doors. How creative is that!
Afterwards I spend the whole day with my MEP. The reason I make comparison with Petar Pan is that he/she was very positive and cheerful person. He/she took me on two meetings and lunch and during our runs from one place to another and lunch, we had very lively discussions on several topics. My MEP explained the sacrifice of their job, and I must agree knowing his/her team and agenda it must be difficult to find the time for family. A success of a MEP is a success of the whole family! Then, My MEP shortly introduced me to the historical background of his/her country and we had a long talk on what does it mean to feel your own nationality, the European identity in time of crisis, and what are the future scenarios of the European project. I compared myself with Petar Pan`s shadow not only because my MEP was young in spirit, but because often our talks turned into debates with different standpoints. Somehow, after short period we felt that we could talk openly and loosen to a degree the diplomatic tone. Women quota and political party’s ideologies were the `hot` topics while we shared a chocolate cake desert.
In the end, it turned out that my MEP is a great politician and he/she won my vote! After those 10 hours, I have much more appreciation of their work and effort, and I am very grateful for this opportunity.