In 2014, Germany’s highest court cleared the way for smaller parties to run for the European parliament. One year on, we’re taking stock of this motley crew of lone-warriors, euroskeptics and a money-loving jokester. Martin Sonneborn is an EU member of parliament (MEP) for Germany’s Die Partei, translated simply as The Party. Most days he gets up late and goes to the European Parliament mainly to get his per diem and to watch other MEPs. The journalist and satirist records his experiences in the well-known satirical magazine “Titanic,” for which he is also the publisher. Sonneborn garnishes his comical depictions of the European parliament with fierce criticism of the right-leaning Alternative for Germany, which is also new to the legislative body. MEPs from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) don’t escape his keen eye either. As he wrote of one particularly corpulent lawmaker in Brussels: “At the moment, he’s eating half a pig with cream sauce.”
The Party’s website also documents his time spent as MEP, including the time he gave a local Berlin chapter a tour of parliament. The inspection trip ended on a boozy note.
According to Sonneborn’s own information, he coaxes roughly 33,000 euros ($36,000) per month from the system in allowances, benefits, attendance fees, and travel expenses. And by doing so he continues to consistently deliver on his campaign promise he made last year as The Party candidate; namely, to get as much money from Strasbourg and Brussels as possible.