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					        Quick A- Z of MEPs' duties and

        With less than 4 weeks to go before the June European elections we have put together
        a quick A-Z of the rights and obligations of the Members you elect. It contains some
        things you should bear in mind when you are deciding who and which party to vote
        for as well as if you want to stand yourself as a candidate if it's not too late!

        A - Attendance: MEPs are not forced to attend debates or meetings. However, certain al-
        lowances are withheld if they do not attend at least half of all plenary sessions.

        B - Brussels: This is where two-day sittings of the House take place as well as many com-
        mittee and political group meetings.

        C - Compatibility: If you are an MEP you can't also be an MP, a European Commissioner or
        a European Court of Justice judge among others, so check out which posts are incompatible
        with being an MEP.

        C - Convicted: If convicted of a criminal offence MEPs may be barred, but this depends
        on national rules.

        C - Conflict of interest: If an MEP has a financial interest in something under debate in the
        EP, they can speak, but they have to declare their interest. They also have to declare an
        interest if appointed to draft a report for a committee.

        D - Dual mandates: Unlike in the past you can't be a member of a national parliament and
        the EP. This affects some members of the UK House of Lords who are currently MEPs.

        E - Expenses: Expenses include the reimbursement of costs for travel to and from Par-
        liament, living expenses while away from home and office expenditure in members' con-
        stituencies. MEPs also receive allowances to cover the resources needed to do their job
        effectively, most notably a "parliamentary assistance allowance" used for the employment
        of a small personal staff, acting as parliamentary assistants, researchers, policy advisers
        and secretaries.

        E - Eligibility: To stand for election you must be a national of one of the 27 EU countries,
        but you can stand in a country other than your own, for example former Finnish world rally
        champion Ari Vatanen represents a constituency in France.

        F - Financial interests: Before new Members can take up their post they have to complete
        a detailed personal declaration on financial interests. This is then posted on the Parliament's

        I - Independence: Members "shall not be bound by any instructions and shall not receive a
        binding mandate for example from their Member State or from any private person."

              Press Service
              Directorate for the Media
              Director - Spokesperson : Jaume DUCH GUILLOT
              Reference No.: 20090302STO50535
              Press switchboard number (32-2) 28 33000                    - 1/2
I - Immunity: MEPs cannot be investigated, detained or have legal action taken against
them in respect of opinions they express or votes cast when an MEP. However, if a Member
is caught in the act of committing an offence, they cannot claim immunity.

M - Misbehaviour: The President of the Parliament is allowed to take financial sanctions
against MEPs who misbehave or disrupt the sitting.
N - National appointments: Many MEPs are members of parties that win general elections
and are then called home to take on ministerial posts. During the current term for example,
Alexander Stubb left to become Finland's foreign Minister and Cecilia Malmström became
Sweden's Europe Minister. In 2006 Estonian MEP Toomas Hendrik Ilves departed to Tallinn
to become President of his country.

S - Salaries: Until now MEPs got the same salary as national MPs in their countries and
payment was made by the national government. So for example in 2005 a Hungarian MEP's
gross monthly salary would have been under €1,000 whilst a German MEP would have
received around €7,000. From mid 2009 with the election of a new Parliament and the start
of a new legislature, MEPs will receive a flat rate salary of around €7,000 a month paid for
by the EU.

S - Strasbourg: If you want to stand this is where you will spend 12 weeks a year during
the monthly plenary sessions.
Z - 17 MEPs' names start with the letter Z…!

                                                                              20090302STO50535 - 2/2

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