Money, Love & Lots of Tape | THE NICO SEMSROTT SHOW

Welcome to THE NICO SEMSROTT SHOW. You can clap now. [one person claps] Wow, that was way more than I expected. Thank you. This is crazy how people are
interested in European politics. I got 14 likes for
that on Twitter. The show will start now, so please switch
off your smartphones. Oh boy, why do we have to watch this NICO
SEMSROTT SHOW? They are making fun of us. I'm fine with the show, as long as there are no reindeer sweaters in the plenary hall.

Reindeers are great! Yes, they are. They simply are.
We should wear them all year. Yes, especially in summer. It's not hot at all,
not at all. I don't like THE NICO SEMSROTT SHOW. Well I think it's funny. But why didn't I laugh one single time? Because you're an idiot! What? Hi, we've all grown in many ways this
first year in Parliament. I have gained 10 kilos. But unlike with
many of my colleagues this isn't due to alcohol – at least not
yet. Okay, maybe the EU hasn't really grown. In fact, thanks to Brexit, it shrunk. But because of Brexit, my influence has grown. My vote in the Parliament is now worth 0.01% more
than before. I now have 0.14% of a say. And not only has my power and my stomach grown, but I can also spend more money than ever before.

This year alone I have more than half a million euros at my disposal.
Let's send it to my correspondent who will tell you more. Hi, this is my budget 2020. I used the maximum amounts available after taxes and as things are currently changing, this is only the exact budget I have available at this moment. It's not the same for all the other MEPs. It's just more or less the same.
Let's start! The most important budget is the staff pay. It's about €330,746. With this money, I can pay my staff and I can also engage service providers, companies that
work for me on a regular basis. This money is managed by
the European Parliament and if I don't use it, it goes back to the
Parliament and I'm not able to touch any of it. This is what I call the PR budget. It's managed by the group
and I can use it for every communication: videos and
merchandise and stuff like that.

And it's €59,887 this year. And if I don't use the money it will go back to the group. And I can't touch any of the money. This is my salary. I can keep it. It's €64,800 this year, after taxes in Germany. As an MEP you get a daily allowance for just being there. So you have to sign a list and then you will get €323 per day. It's meant to be spent for accommodation
and food. You can do that on 193 days this year. So that will make – if you're
there all the time – €62,339, tax free. This money will go directly to my bank account and I can decide what I actually do with it.

So it's not controlled whether I use it for accommodation and food. I just get it. This is my favorite budget. It's the office allowance and you can do whatever you want with it.
So it's meant to be spent for office work…stuff. But it goes directly to your personal bank account, as you are the MEP. And if you just keep it, that is fine
with the European Parliament. That's an extra €45,756. This office allowance is not controlled or supervised by anybody and MEPs consider it to be a shadow salary. Again, this is the maximum amount that
is possible. And of course, if you are a lazy person, then you can just spend less. This all adds up to €563,528. COVID-19 has halted life in its tracks,
but there's one thing the virus can't stop.

My heart will go on. The only question is:
Where is it leading me? On the one hand my heart longs for a
better world, where full transparency holds politicians accountable. On the other hand, I have fallen for a
bit of a bad boy, who is so far from these ideals and so far from me
now… David Maria Sassoli, President of the
European Parliament. Call me a hopeless romantic but I think
I can still have it all. Let's just set the mood. And we're off. [romantic piano music] My dear David, you may remember me,
we crossed eyes last year. I called for a point of order. Maybe just to get your attention. I'll
never tell. And you said something back to me in
Italian. Some touching poetry I imagine. For that brief moment of passion, I felt
something real. That together we could accomplish
anything. Maybe I'm just being silly but I think
together we can change the EU. This is why I'm writing to you
with one simple request.

The money us MEPs have at our disposal
for office expenses over €4,000 each month – shouldn't
we be required to say where it all goes? Shouldn't this information be easily
accessible for all Europeans? We have nothing to hide, right? At least when it comes to matters of the bank and not of the heart.
Until I see you again from across the hall. Yours, Nico. [romantic piano music] <3 [music continues…] And that's how you get things done
around here! As of last September, my office is fully
transparent about the allowance money we spend. On things like: laptops and lobster costumes and this. It's interesting how much this transparency has changed our behaviour. It feels like
people are watching over us at all times. So we started to think hard before every purchase and set rules on what we can buy. And as a result, we spent less. Sometimes we still bought things we
shouldn't have, but people called us out and we learned to not make the same
mistake twice.

It's all a pain in the ass and I'm
embarrassed about doing things wrong. On the other hand, I've gotten used
to the fact that everybody can see how we work. So why doesn't everybody
do this, if only out of respect for citizens? It's their money after all, isn't it? Yet, none of the "serious politicians"
have followed my lead. Not even the liberal politicians, which is strange – they are obsessed
with reducing state spending, and being transparent would help them to do just that.

And being transparent
doesn't make them any less free to carry out their mandate.
It just makes them more careful about doing it right. Let's take a random colleague as an example. How about Nicola Beer from Germany's FDP? She could just be sticking the €4,500 allowance in her pocket each month. Now I'm not at all saying she's sticking
the €4,500 in her pocket each month! Let me repeat. I am NOT saying: Nicola Beer is pocketing all that money
each month.

I'm just saying: Until she commits to
transparency too – how can we know for sure? So let's just remove any doubt and
ask her where the money is going. Politely. This is her email. ["Ode To Joy" plays through the speaker] The European Union is a force for peace
and progress, a bulwark of humanistic values, a shining
inspiration for lovers of democracy around the world. This is my own freely given opinion. Today in this video, that I was definitely not forced to make, I would like to present the EU's 5 coolest achievements.

Number 5 on this list – that I made all by
myself – is the Erasmus Programme. Thanks to this programme, millions of students have been able to
study in other countries, experience different cultures and get horribly drunk playing beer pong. Without Erasmus, contributions like this to European culture would never have been possible. [Electronic music] Now is also a good time to mention that
emergency medical treatment is available throughout the EU. So if you're studying
or traveling abroad and something like this accidentally happens, then somebody will be there to take care
of you. Moving on to number four: The euro.

Since 2002 19 EU countries have replaced their national currencies with the euro,
so that they could more easily trade together, produce together and grow together as one. What a great success. For about six years. Then things took a turn when the euro helped set off: an economic crisis, the banking crisis and the sovereign debt crisis. Well, but all good things come in threes,
right? ["ba dum tss" sound] And the euro is definitely a good thing. Speaking of number three – haha –
third place goes to everlasting peace. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel
Prize for its role in transforming Europe from a continent of war
into a continent of peace. And in celebration of this award, the EU
is now creating a European Defence Fund for the development of high-tech
military weapons and the European Peace Facility to bring
these weapons to conflict regions. Don't you find the name a little ironic? Okay, moving on to number two then: No more roaming charges. In 2017, the European Union abolished
roaming charges for travelers in the EU.

Okay, that's actually pretty cool. Alright, now it's time to find out
which achievement will finish first. I already know it of course because I'm
the one and only person responsible for this list. And the winner is: The Schengen Agreement. [applause] The Schengen Agreement allows you to
travel through the entire EU without annoying border controls. Well, once you're already inside the EU. But even then, some EU countries aren't
part of the Schengen Agreement… poor ones mostly. And some non-EU
countries are part of the agreement… rich ones. Do you think that's fair? Okay okay, so now you know it: The European Union is simply great. It sets you free and let's you go wherever you want.

Am I right, guys? Please? [Martin S. – EU Therapy Centre] [sad music playing] [sad music].

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