Sunday, 29 June 2008

Money well spent

British MEPs are joining a 200-strong European parliament jaunt to Paris this week, costing the taxpayer up to £200,000.

The three-day trip, organised by the European People’s party (EPP), a centre-right group, will include dinner at the Palais de Versailles and a champagne boat trip down the Seine.

EPP leaders say it is an opportunity for MEPs to leave their normal Brussels working environment and “discuss security issues”. They describe the break as “study days”.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but isn't "discussing security issues" the kind of thing they normally do - or should be doing - anyway? Not that they're going to be doing a whole lot of discussing, in any case, unless maybe it's discussing whether the white wine is better than the red:

Details of the entertainment are not available on the EPP website but a leaked agenda sent to MEPs and staff reveals a whirlwind of sightseeing and entertainment. The fun kicks off on Wednesday with a two-hour lunch hosted by France’s ruling party, the Popular Movement Union (UMP), at the 18th-century residence of the president of the national assembly, the Hôtel de Lassay.

MEPs will then debate European defence policy for 2½ hours before being whisked away, with a police escort, from their luxury hotel on the Right Bank to a drinks reception hosted at the Elysée Palace by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.

On Thursday they will attend a three-hour debate on energy, followed by a three-hour cruise down the Seine on Le Paquebot (billed as an “immense floating palace”), the largest boat available at the exclusive Yachts de Paris tour company.

The MEPs, spouses and staff will have a cocktail lunch of 22 hot and cold culinary specialities created by Jean-Pierre Vigato, a top Paris chef. Champagne, French wines and liqueurs are also on the menu. Those invited were reminded that “you may wish to bring a sun hat”.

Dinner that evening is at the Palais de Versailles, once the principal royal residence.

Next day there will be a three-hour debate on food security, before another buffet lunch, complete with wine.

So, from the details given above, it seems that they will be spending a total of about eight and a half hours on various discussions and debates. A normal working day, in fact, but spread over three days, and interspersed with plenty of opportunities for the poor overworked (those expenses don't fiddle themselves, you know) politicos to luxuriate.

Aren't we taxpayers generous?

5 comments:

ranter said...

To really get away they could have all popped over to the Ramada Hotel, Pembury nr Tunbridge Wells. full conference facilities, a small health centre with pool and opportunities close by to enjoy the High Weald AONB and Bedgebury Pinetum. Any IBIS hotel could also have accommodated them - Would have cost a fraction of the 200K quoted, but then that's not the idea really is it? They're filling their boots while they can I think. the tide is well and truly turning in the UK, it will each Euroland soon.

bernard said...

As Ranter probably knows, it is not about saving public money, or even having a good time (they have that most the time anyway), but a desire to emulate emperors & monarchs from an era when they sailed in flotillas along great rivers to survey the unwashed proletariat with out actually having to go near them.
Of course a Mugabe-style motorcade, resplendent with trumpets and cascading flowers would be the next best thing. But we'll have to wait for that.

Flanders Fields said...

Good posting, FR. I think Bernard knows the score.

http://myflandersfields.blogspot.com/2008/06/springtime-and-meps-in-paris.html

Fulham Reactionary said...

Ranter:

I don't particularly mind whether they stay at Le Meridien Etoile, or at the Ramada, be it in Pembury or anywhere else. What I do object to is being expected to pay for it.

Flanders Fields:

Thanks for the link.

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