I like the European Parliament elections. It makes EU stuff interesting and now is one of the few times that the mainstream media is interested in EU matters. At short notice I was contacted by BBC Radio 5 Live this morning and asked to appear on the Victoria Derbyshire show commenting on MEPs’ expenses, essentially replying to this article in today’s Times. I was up against Mats Persson of Open Europe, and you can hear the debate here – 1 hour 5 minutes into the programme. Overall the debate was rather strange – the MEP pension and expenses rules are very complex and, as with the UK MP scandals, there’s no rule breaking here – it’s just that the rules are set up wrongly. Plus there is little debate about openness of expenses in out EU countries – more on that here. Anyway, a fun experience to be on UK national radio.
In EU news more generally – the stuff I would have liked to talk about – there are 2 new developments today regarding the nomination of the UK’s member of the European Commission, a matter I’ve previously posted about. Geoff Hoon has been further implicated in the UK expenses scandal today, and looks likely to be ousted in Brown’s reshuffle this week. Patricia Hewitt has also announced she is to stand down as a MP, presumably to spend more time with her consultancies family. Or is she just paving the way for a nomination as Commissioner? Overall though all the mess in Westminster means that a strong outsider is needed more than ever – come on Ken Livingstone, Brussels needs you!