So much for Commission president Barroso's plan to fine absent MEPs for lack of attendance at today's "State of the Union" speech in Strasburg. EurActiv reports:
"Political group leaders in the European Parliament were left red-faced yesterday (6 September) after being forced to abandon a decision to force MEPs to attend the European Commission president's first ever 'State of the Union' address under the new Lisbon Treaty rules.
"... This decision was seen by many as insulting and anti-democratic and triggered an unprecedented email exchange between MEPs who revolted against their own leaders.
"This method and wording of the decision of the Conference of Presidents is not in accordance with the dignity of the free mandate and the independence of an elected MEP," one longtime parliamentarian said. "We are not schoolboys and schoolgirls."