Richard North, 13/09/2004  

Er… not exactly, but that is how the agenda of the European parliament is styled on its own website. You wouldn’t know it from all the press coverage – i.e., none – but the European parliament convenes in Strasbourg today for its first full business (plenary) session since the elections.

Full of their own importance, the MEPs will be discussing issues ranging from Iraq to the Stability Pact, with a debate on the attack in Beslan and the fight against terrorism, on "cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law", and on "the humanitarian crisis in Sudan" – all of which is absolutely no business of the parliament.

In between that, they will hear an address from newly elected EP president Josep Borrell who will set out his priorities for his term in office, as if anyone gave a damn, followed by a statement by the Commission on the recent forest fires in Spain and Portugal. Then – almost as an incidental – the parliamentarians will be looking at the 2005 budget, once they've dealt with the intriguing item: "Oral questions to the Commission on "Women on Waves" ship".

Anyone who wants to look at the full line-up can see it on the EP website. To give credit where credit is due, the EP staff do go out of their way to make information extremely accessible. It is not their fault that no one wants to look at it. And for myself, I am seriously glad that I don’t have to.

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