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Scuffle as journalist challenges MEP over expenses

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By Euronews
Scuffle as journalist challenges MEP over expenses

<p>Italian <span class="caps">MEP</span> Raffaele Baldassere didn’t take kindly to a reporter from Netherlands’ <a href="http://www.geenstijl.tv/" rel="external">Geenstijl TV</a> asking him why he had signed the attendance list – to get his 300 euro daily expenses fee – even though he had not taken part in any Parliament proceedings that day. The video of what happened appeared on the internet on June 25. </p> <p><a href="http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/fr/96757/RAFFAELE_BALDASSARRE_home.html;jsessionid=43CF400C427A93CE6978460C3A18C1C8.node1" rel="external">Baldassare</a> was ambushed by the reporter just after he had signed himself on the list at 6.30 PM.</p> <p>The journalist first asked the People’s Party deputy if it wasn’t too late to be arriving at work. Baldassare responded in English: “I don’t understand.”</p> <p>The reporter didn’t give up and he continued questioning the Italian lawmaker, asking him how he could sign the list at 6:30 PM, and collect 300 euros, even though he didn’t have any expenses that day, because he hadn’t worked.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">MEP</span> continue to play the innocent, but the TV journalist wasn’t going to let him off the hook. He continued: “That’s very easy, if it’s getting difficult, you don’t understand.” When Baldassare ignored him and walked away pulling his suitcase, the reporter started to bombard him with sarcastic remarks: “I like that job, I want that job.” The <span class="caps">MEP</span> responded calmly, in Italian: “Non capisco” (I don’t understand).</p> <p>But later on, when he got into the elevator and was followed by the reporter, the politician erupted: he started pushing the journalist, who asked him not to touch his camera. But Baldassare hit the microphone and started to shout in Italian: “What do you want from me? Who are you? Stop this, you are stupid!“</p> <p>As the scuffle became more heated another man stepped in, and pushed the reporter further away, but the angry <span class="caps">MEP</span> carried on towards him and hit his microphone several times, all the time speaking in Italian and gesticulated. Once he almost manage to tear the microphone from the reporter’s hand.</p> <p>But the journalist taunted him: “What do you think I understand from this? I understand in Italian only (the insult)“vaffanculo.”</p> <p>Eventually everyone calmed down, the <span class="caps">MEP</span> left in the elevator.</p> <p>You can watch the report by clicking here: </p> <p><iframe width="606" height="350" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NeZU3FPDMNg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>The salary of <span class="caps">MEP</span>s and the misuse of daily fees was the subject of coverage, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cstARNy0Sc&feature=youtube_gdata_player" rel="external">in 2011.</p> <p>Germany’s <span class="caps">RTL</span> television reported </a> on how their journalist was thrown out of the European Parliament, because he filmed how <span class="caps">MEP</span>s came to the office to sign the attendance list before leaving for home. A number of them ran away when they saw his camera. </p> <p>Several <span class="caps">MEP</span>s had not attended meetings and didn’t vote on the days, but did claim the attendance allowance.</p> <p><div style="background-color:#aaa; color:#FFF; width:300px; padding:5px; margin-right:8px; font-size:11px;"><br /> <p><b>How much is the salary of a member of the European Parliament?(2011)</b> </p> <p>Approximately 14,000 euros per month, which consists of: </p> <p>- Basic salary 7,956 euro (brut) 6,200 (net) – Fees (tax free) 3,980 euro – Daily fee 300 euro per day </p> <p></p><br /> </div></p>