Another curious feature is that being a member of the European Parliament (MEP) is really not very prestigious, even though the EP's powers have been growing in recent years. It's actually a great deal of work, as MEPs must constantly shuttle between their home country, Brussels, and Strasbourg. Meanwhile, most voters don't really know who they are, so they enjoy very little glory for their efforts.
How lousy is an EP seat? Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to buy off a hooker by appointing her to the EP, and she felt that she'd been ripped off.
I really hope to meet some of these people.