MEPs receive various forms of allowances (and some expenses), one of which is the daily allowance, intended to cover expenditure on food and accommodation for every day that they are physically present in the European Parliament, be it in Brussels or Strasbourg.
The idea, of course, is that they do work. However 'SISO' involves MEPs rocking up at the EP - signing in - a pre-condition of claiming the €300 of daily allowance - before promptly sodding off without doing any actual work. That's not exactly how the daily allowance was intended to be used.
There have been cases of this practice being captured on film in the past, and while it always makes for hilarious viewing, it remains a PR disaster for a body already struggling with legitimacy.
We hadn't heard about any cases of SISO for some time, so we thought the practice might have stopped. Alas, that might not be the case. At his own peril (as he soon came to find) GeenStijl reporter @TomStaal, decided to take a trip to European Parliament to see for himself. But Staal got a lot more than he bargained for...
The video below shows Staal confronting two MEPs, Czech MEP Miroslav Ransdorf (from the EP's far left GUE group) and Italian MEP Raffaele Baldassarre (of the European People's Party) after the two have allegedly signed in and left straight away.
Now, we must stress that we haven't seen the whole chain of events and since the MEPs in question aren't exactly keen to talk, we don't know their side of the story either. So we're NOT saying they are necessarily guilty of signing in and sodding off - the jury is still out on that.
But, regardless, the MEPs' reactions aren't exactly dignified.
shortened version / credit to Geenstijl reporter Tom Staal
To clarify for those who are unfamiliar with Italian hand gesturing, two gestures feature in the video:
- ‘Lei chi è? Cosa vuole?’ (Who are you? What do you want?):
the arm can also move and the speed
varies depending on how angry you are.
- ‘Calma, calma’ (Calm down, dear): Move your hand (or both of them) as you were pushing something invisible down, with the palm(s) directed towards your interlocutor. This is the gesture actually made by the other Italian guy - the one in the dark suit - not the MEP himself.
If it's the former, then it's ironic that Baldassarre's most recent activity in the EP is listed as "decriminalising defamation"...