Julian Priestley, the European Parliament's former Secretary General and Stephen Clark, its head of web communications, paint an 'impressionist's canvas' that brings the European Parliament to life. In a vivid portrait they look behind and beyond the formal powers and procedures of the Parliament to explore its history, its culture, its politics, the personalities who have led it, and the army of staff who make it function. In the words of Jacques Delors: 'Readers will discover the workings of this institution ...and also the human drama ...this book will help you better understand this European adventure'. The authors start off with two chapters which set the scene: what the Parliament is like to work in - the physical environment, and from that, the story of the seat, and the saga of the buildings. The book then moves on to describe the main actors in the daily drama of parliamentary life; the politicians, of course, but also their staffs, the political group secretariats and Parliament's administration.
It covers the different kinds of parliamentarians - the higher-profile MEPs destined for senior office in Parliament, the legislators, the budgeteers, the institutionalists, the parliamentary diplomats and the mavericks. It describes how MEPs get promoted. And it shows how in reality MEPs do their work of legislating, controlling the budget and scrutinising the Commission. The book raises several other themes. What about the politics in all this? How important a factor is nationality in the way things are decided? And multilingualism - how does the Parliament cope as the only body in the world with fully twenty-three working languages, plus some add-ons? And, finally and ever more importantly, how does the Parliament communicate with the outside world and especially those who elect it? The book includes more than 350 photographs illustrating the 'life and times' of this unique experiment in continental-level democracy.
Stephen Clark joined the administration of the European Parliament in 1991, and he is currently head of web communications. Sir Julian Priestley was Secretary General of the Parliament from 1997 until 2007and is now a prominent speaker, writer and adviser on European affairs.
Preface, by Jacques Delors Introduction 1. Habitats and inhabitants: Parliament and its people 2. A Tale of Three Cities 3. A Dash of Politics 4. The National Question: The Unspoken Factor 5. The French in Strasbourg: Vive la Difference! 6. The Gift of Tongues 7. The 'Glittering Prizes' 8. The Sausage Machine 9. The Money Men: Looking after the Taxpayer's Euro 10. Outside the Consensus - Reformers, Sceptics, Crusaders and Stars 11. Life's Rich Pageant 12. The 'Deep State': the Influence of Permanent Officials 14. Love, Love Me Do - Communicating the European Parliament Index