At the European Parliament, the oral and written parliamentary questions to the European Commission or the Council are often used to rise in the MEP ranking. This system to evaluate the MEP activity is subject to many critics because it doesn’t take into account the concrete and informal activity of the MEPs (negotiations, rapporteurs meetings, tabling amendments, informal meetings, etc..). For this reason, many MEPs are just tabling written questions even if they are not present during the Committee or Plenary votes and they can be ranked higher than a very active Member of the European Parliament.
La Stampa’s Italian EU reporter Marco Zatterin noted that some of the Italian MEPs submitted one written question per day (e.g. MEP Mara Bizzotto, 228 questions) and he found out that the overall cost to translate, analyze, and send back the question to the EP is… 1500 euro! This means that the European Union spent around 340.000 euro only to reply to all the questions tabled by Mara Bizzotto. (La Stampa)
Some of the questions are legitimate, but we have to admit that others seem odd and may be irrelevant for some (e.g. the issue of certain zoos in Ukraine, the situation of the dirty earphones, etc).