DAVID Cameron waved a copy of an European Union-funded children’s colouring book called Mr and Mrs MEP during a summit of Europe’s leaders to hammer home his demands for an end to wasteful spending.
The glossy propaganda booklet – which senior leaders, including Angela Merkel, had to be assured was not a hoax – is aimed at educating children as to the workings of the EU.
About 15,000 copies were produced and the book inadvertently highlights what critics describe as the “travelling circus”, when the EU assembly relocates from Brussels to Strasbourg once a month, at a cost of more than £150 million a year.
The Prime Minister also lashed out at the end of the two-day summit in Brussels at the “immensely frustrating” way the EU works, complaining he has to “lock and load” every time he goes to such a gathering.
“We have got to try and restore a connection with people’s ordinary democratic consent,” he said. “A number of other European leaders were pretty appalled by it [the booklet] and this is the sort of thing that the EU needs to cut out if it is going to have any chance of winning people’s confidence that it spends money carefully.”
In one chapter named Mr and Mrs MEP – and their helpers, it reveals it takes four people to post a letter and that Euro-deputies are met by taxpayer-funded limousines as they arrive at the airport, before a day that includes dining and shopping.
German chancellor Mrs Merkel confessed that when she first saw the book, she thought it must be a satirical parody. “The question remains whether it is genuine from the midst of the European Parliament or if it is a parody that ridicules it,” she said.
The European Parliament later confirmed the booklet was genuine and was produced for its annual Open Days each May.