Friday, October 25, 2013

The Yes man: Romanian MEP who ‘has not voted against anything in previous 541 motions’ is accused of not caring

German newspaper investigation reveals member of assembly who agrees with all the European Parliament’s

A Romanian MEP has been accused of simply not caring after it was revealed that he has not voted against any of the last 541 proposals put to the European Parliament.

According to an investigation by the German weekly Der Spiegel, Dumitru Zamfirescu often votes “yes” to two or more motions which directly contradict each other, and sometimes doesn’t even bother to have the list explaining the details of each vote in front of him.

The newspaper said Zamfirescu recently hit a run of 63 “yes” votes in a row – at other times he just abstains – on the highly controversial issue of a new set of tobacco regulations. He reportedly agreed that warning labelling should cover both 50 and 65 per cent of cigarette packs, and that the tobacco companies should both get to choose where they go and be forced to put them on the lower part of the package.

According to the MEP who sits next to Zamfirescu in the assembly, these most recent “decisions” are just an indicator of the extent to which the independent Romanian representative isn’t all that bothered.

Austrian member Martin Ehrenhauser is known for uncovering a number of alleged abuses in the EU, and told Der Spiegel that his colleague’s voting habits are a “completely unnecessary contribution to political apathy”.

“At times he has absolutely no voting documents in front of him,” Ehrenhauser said – without which it is impossible to even know what a vote is on, because they are only identified by a reference number.

“Anyone who votes this randomly and unethically is failing to take his responsibilities seriously as an elected politician.

MEPs get paid a monthly salary of about €8,000 (£6,800), but receive extra bonuses for attending Parliament and more money still if they vote on at least 50 per cent of the day’s motions.

All electronic votes are recorded on the website – which shows that Zamfirescu has only missed 18 out of 1298 votes in the full Parliament.

Ehrenhauser added that the Romanian’s “yes” record probably extends even further, as votes by raised hand are not recorded – and Zamfirescu’s hand is nearly always up.

Der Spiegel described the 59-year-old MEP as an ultra-nationalist former member of the far-right Greater Romania Party – once led by Corneliu Vadim Tudor, a man who campaigned for mass executions in football stadia and the introduction of labour camps.

And Ehrenhauser said he only decided not to bring up Zamfirescu’s questionable habits in Parliament because it is probably for the best that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Zamfirescu told the German newspaper he could remember the last time he voted “no”, but said: “I vote ‘yes’ because I agree with all the proposals.”

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