Catherine Stihler

Catherine has represented Scotland in the European Parliament since 1999. In this time she has held many and varied roles from Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP) to the Editor of the Parliament Magazine. Over the years, Catherine has been recognised as an ambassador for accessibility, consumer and citizen rights.

Read her biography

General view of plenary session Week 3 2017 in Strasbourg

The European Parliament

Just as you elect local councillors to look after your local community and MSPs and MPs to represent you at Holyrood and Westminster, voters in Scotland also elect six MEPs to represent them in the European Parliament.

Read more about the role of an MEP

A day in the life of an MEP

At the risk of sounding cliché, there is no such thing as a typical day in the life of an MEP.

Each day comes with its own priorities and individual challenges. Being a politician is not a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job. But, having been an MEP since 1999 and with two young children, the hectic lifestyle is something I am accustomed to.

I spend either three or four days a week in Brussels or Strasbourg and the rest of the week back in Scotland; the structure of my day depends where I am.

During Brussels weeks, my days are a combination of committee meetings, political group meetings and discussions with visitors from national governments, NGOs, academia, campaign groups and many other organisations. The day usually starts at 8am with a breakfast meeting and ends around 10pm after an event, a dinner discussion or, on occasion, a social dinner with colleagues.

In Strasbourg my diary is usually at its busiest. I am in meetings, working groups, giving speeches and observing debates from 8am and often do not leave the Parliament until after 10pm. It is in Strasbourg that we vote as a Parliament on legislation, one of the most important aspects of our work.

Constituency weeks vary greatly. Representing the whole of Scotland means I travel a lot. I do everything from discussing digital skills in the Highlands to speaking to school pupils in the Borders. I also have huge amounts of paperwork to deal with in relation to enquiries from constituents.

Regardless of where I am, there is also the matter of the several hundred emails I receive each day. I receive so many meeting requests that I cannot accept them all so work with my team to prioritise those which are of particular relevance to Scotland.

I am Vice Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee as well as a substitute member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, both of which cover issues which really matter to the people of Scotland.

The work of the European Parliament is more relevant to the people of Scotland than many realise. In my committees we cover everything from the cost of using your mobile phone abroad to safety standards for gas appliances. A major priority for me this parliamentary term is to see concrete action to end the digital divide.

The life of an MEP is busy and never boring. My diary fills up months in advance and one of the best parts of my job is working together with colleagues from across the EU as well as concerned constituents, industry representatives and national experts.