|NB. This English version was translated (by me) from the original written in French by a Brit - me! If you like to read the original version in French, download the pdf here.|
While that wasn't a major gaffe in itself, what she did say may cause some embarrassment to all parties - notably she was caught on camera complaining about the boredom of her parliamentary job and revealed she is only showing up because of the media....
It is worth recalling here that Miss Dati was promoted from Nicolas Sarkozy's staff to the post of Justice Minister when he won office in 2007, a move that was heavily-criticized for her lack of experience. She was thus in the press spotlight since her appointment which perhaps contributed to her spectacular downfall, making numerous mistakes and being dispatched away from France by Sarzoky to the European Parliament.
Clearly disappointed with this outcome, the 44-year-old politician (who did state she had no desire to become an MEP after being ejected from President Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet) has been striving to make a big impression with a view of heading back to France, positioning herself to run for the national Parliament in the next national elections and then as future Mayor of Paris (she is already Mayor of the left bank's 7th arrondissement).
Therefore as you'd expect, she is cultivating her media image as a hard working parliamentarian which leads us back to why she had a microphone on her lapel in Strasbourg yesterday - she was being filmed by the M6 channel which for a piece on "a day in the life of Rachida Dati".
What exactly she said in the video above translates as follows: "I am in the Strasbourg parliament chamber. I can't stand this, I can't stand this. I think there is going to be bloodshed before I get to the end of my term. I have to stay here, play clever, because there are a few press around and there's the election of [Commission President] Barroso... When you're in Strasbourg, they see you if you don't vote. If you don't [vote], that means that you're not there." **
Oops. Perhaps Miss Dati requires a little more work on that positive PR now...
** What she actually said in French: "Je suis dans l'hémicycle du parlement de Strasbourg. Je n'en peux plus, je n'en peux plus! Je pense qu'il va y avoir un drame avant que je finisse mon mandat. Je suis obligée de rester là, de faire la maligne, parce qu'il y a un peu de presse et, d'autre part, il y a l'élection de Barroso (...) Quant tu es à Strasbourg, on voit si tu votes ou pas. Sinon, ça veut dire que tu n'es pas là..
EUObserver reported this morning that a chunk of plaster "measuring no more than 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres" fell down from the ceiling in the Pierre Pflimlin (PFL) building, which is home to the communication department (and where Newshound has an office apparently - although I couldn't find it).
The reason for this chunk falling has been attributed to the combination of "building work and heavy rainfall" in Strasbourg and could not have come at a worse time as MEPs, officials, and masses of stagiaires head down to the charming French town for the December session.
But a look back in the archives reveals that this is not the first time the Strasbourg seat has caused the Parliament problems...
Last August (2008), a 10-tonne chunk of the ceiling in the Strasbourg plenary chamber fell down, and in 2007 the buildings were condemned by officials after they discovered "alarming levels of asbestos".
The year before that, in 2006, it emerged that Strasbourg authorities had been overcharging the EU by millions of Euros a year in rent for 25 years. And if that wasn't enough, Legionnaires disease was found in the plumbing in 2002.
But of course with the seat also facing criticism by many because of the large expenses incurred in transferring MEPs and officials from Brussels and Luxembourg for one week every month, this latest incident is by comparison just the tip of the iceberg!
The December session may not have already begun but it already looks to be making headlines for all the wrong reasons...