Dutch MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik on Thursday (13 July) welcomed her 2500nd participant of a group visit, only since her election 3 years ago. This comes down to a full bus almost every Brussels session of the parliament.
“This is most likely to be record for the current Members of Parliament”, stated Mr Rolf Falter, Visits administrator of the institution.
The European Parliament welcomes over 600.000 visitors per year. “This seems much, but the US Congress welcomes about 2,5 million visitors per year. We remain ambitious”, Mr Falter told at a ceremony with MEP Schreijer and the special visitor, Rianne Pelser-Kamperman from The Dutch municipality Hof van Twente.
Annie Schreijer-Pierik is a rather popular politician in her country. She was voted with a lot of preference-votes. Her slogan was “With Annie Brussels is close”, promising to bring her constituents and the EU closer to each other. Schreijer-Pierik: “Personal tours work very well. When people see the impressive plenary room and hear more about our competences, euroscepticism seems to fade away. Some people come in with cricitcal questions, but leave demanding the EU should do more!”
The visitors of the 64-years old Dutch Christian-democrat politician arrive from all over her country. Students, entrepreneurs, farmers and many other kinds of groups apply for tours with the MEP. She usually spends over 3 hours with the group, giving a tour and an extended Questions and Answers session. The MEP then hands out blue EPP-bags with brochures and small presents.
“I am sure at home people will tell many friends and family about their experiences in Brussels or Strasbourg. This is a practical way to bridge the gap between politics and population. I will continue doing so, as it seems to work well.”