Here we are, in snowy Strasbourg again, in the European Parliament, and I thought that I would try to share with you the emotional rollercoaster this campaign means to us.
Every time we come, and we usually travel from Brussels to Strasbourg on Mondays, we are full of optimism, plotting strategies on the train, who we will ask, how to approach MEPs..etc.
Once we arrive at the European Parliament building early afternoon on Monday, we come down crashing. To be honest with you, this is one of the toughest jobs I ever had to do, and I take the liberty here to speak also on behalf of my colleagues.
We take up our usual place, which is a desk in a draughty corridor, just facing the 6 elevators that ferry MEPs and their assistants up and down between their offices and the ground floor, where the plenary is.
There are two likely scenarios:
1. the elevator beeps, the doors open, and a hurried MEP rushes out, facing away from us, towards the plenary
2. the MEP comes back from the plenary, facing us, waiting for the elevator.
Now, what do you do? You are looking for eye contact between the MEP and a giant stuffed Penguin (sorry, UNO), and hope for a flicker of interest. If it is there, you take a big step with the appropriate language flyer in your hand towards the MEP. At this point, usually you hear the beep, the elevator door opens, and the MEP is swallowed by the belly of the European parliament building.
Have you every distributed flyers in a shopping mall? This is exactly what it feels like, but quite an elitist shopping mall.
So, this is the legwork. Then there are of course highlights, when for example we could actually participate and speak for 5 minutes at the Green Group meeting. Or when an MEP, or assistant specifically seeks you out, and would like to know more about the campaign.
Monday usually ends on a depressive note. However, there is always a Tuesday, and just like today, when 22 MEPs signed in one morning, you are filled with optimism, and the world feels right again.
This is our last week. With a combined method of phone calls, e-mails, personal talks, flyers we have reached 262 MEPs.
Tomorrow is Wednesday…