Is Anybody Listening?

FRANCIS DEMANGE/GAMMA for TIME

GONE SOLO: Finnish M.E.P. Piia-Noora Kauppi, listening to a speech in the Strausbourg chamber, wants to reform the Parliament and make it more relevant.

The clock has not yet struck 9 a.m., but the champagne is already flowing at the European Parliament. Here in a wood-paneled room at the Parliament's Strasbourg headquarters, M.E.P.s from Finland's Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) gather with journalists to go over the week's agenda. The tables are laden with fresh fruit salad, yogurt and pastries, and a bow-tied waiter glides around topping up flutes of Moët. This is the sort of scene that comes to mind when you think of the European Parliament: a plush talking shop where politicians spend vast sums in pursuit...

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