When European Parliament member Bernd Posselt failed to get reelected last year, he simply decided to ignore the election results. One week after his defeat, the 59-year-old entered the European Union’s legislative building in Strasbourg as if nothing had happened — and has done so, ever since. The member of Germany’s CSU party, a powerful local party which is aligned with Angela Merkel’s governing CDU, still participates in parliamentary debates and refuses to lay off his bureau chief. Back at home in German Bavaria, he holds weekly roundtables with citizens to discuss their concerns. Posselt says that he pays privately for nearly all of his expenses.
“I often jokingly say that I’m an honorary European member of Parliament, but of course I know that I’m not,” the politician told WorldViews in a phone interview on Thursday. As a former MP, Posselt is allowed access to the parliamentary building in Strasbourg and its committees. However, nobody besides Posselt makes such frequent use of this rule.
“Whereas others go to Mallorca and sit down beneath a palm tree, I travel to the European Parliament on my own costs,” Posselt told Spiegel Online, referring to other former MPs who lost their seats. “Europe is the task of my life … and the European unification is way too important to leave it only to career politicians,” he added.