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Saturday, May 31, 2014

A German Satirist Elected to the EU Parliament

Martin Sonneborn is a German satirist; a good one at that! DIE PARTEI ("Party for Labor, State of Law, Animal Protection, Elite Promotion and Basis Democracy" - a party which was founded on a parodic platform in 2004 by journalists of the satire magazine Titanic and which has since participated in elections) had nominated Sonneborn as their candidate for the EU Parliament and --- they received 180.000 votes (0,6% of the total) and one seat in parliament.

One should, of course, take Europe and the EU seriously but every once in a while one may be permitted to introduce some fun into the subject. This is why I translate below an interview which Sonneborn gave the FAZ. His major (satirical) theme is that he will resign from the EU Parliament after one month so that another party colleague can take over the job. Again only for one month. That way, they will be able to route all the party's top people (around 60) through the EU Parliament for one month each and enjoy the perks of an EU parliamentarian. Below is the interview.

FAZ: Mr. Sonneborn, you were elected to the EU Parliament on the ticket of DIE PARTEI. What are the goals which you will pursue in Brussels?
Sonneborn: The objective is to resign. After one month. And I have 4 weeks to intensively prepare for that.
FAZ: Isn't there anything in your party program which you would like to see implemented?
Sonneborn: I don't think a single parliamentarian can implement anything ... This is why I will resign after one month.
FAZ: And you only need one month to decide that?
Sonneborn: The plan is to rotate 60 very deserved party colleagues through Brussels. They have now made politics for over 10 years. This is an appropriate award for their work: well-paid; 33.000 Euro; free flights; free train tickets; expense account; etc.
FAZ: 33.000 Euro are too high. The gross salary of an EU parliamentarian is EUR 8.020,53; net of taxes and contributions EUR 6.250,37.
Sonneborn: Yeah, but we get 4.000 Euros for expenses without having to produce receipts and we can spend another 20.000 Euro for office, fax and coffee machines.
FAZ: In other words, every party colleague will set up office from scatch every month?
Sonneborn: Not quite like that. However, every EU parliamentarian tries hard to spend 33.000 Euro every month and we will try hard to live up to that precedent.
FAZ: Which party colleagues are on the list to follow you?
Sonneborn: There are 64 long-serving colleagues, only that in our party, even the long-serving colleagues are under 30. We selected 60 of them so that we could run them through parliament during the next 6 years, each for one month. This means that, every month, DIE PARTEI will be represented by a different person in Brussels who takes the cash.
FAZ: To have a claim for transitional compensation, one has to have one full year of service.
Sonneborn: Nah, that's wrong! It is sufficient to resign. Normally, you get one month transitional money for every full year but one gets at minimum transition payment for 6 months. And that you get even if you spent only 3 days in parliament.
FAZ: According to article 13 of the statutes, one year is minimum service.
Sonneborn: We use Google as our source of information and there they say that we will receive very, very much money.
FAZ: Well, then...
Sonneborn: I would like to point out that we will not be the craziest ones in the EU Parliament!
FAZ: Who do you think is even crazier?
Sonneborn: At least 30% of the total. That is more than in the Bundestag and that means something!
FAZ: Do you already have a faction in the EU Parliament?
Sonneborn: Not yet, but I will try to build a faction of the mad, the crazy ones and the EU-destroyers.
FAZ: Have you received any congratulatory messages from possible supporters yet?
Sonneborn: Not yet, but I expect Martin Schulz to approach us soon.
FAZ: What do you say to those people who voted for you because of your campaign promises?
Sonneborn: I tell them that such naivité deserves punishment. Furthermore, our campaign was clearly against Angela Merkel and that is sufficient to draw a lot of votes.


PS: I have no knowlegde of DIE PARTEI nor what they really plan to accomplish in Brussels.

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