A train carrying hundreds of MEPs and European Parliament officials briefly ended up… at Disneyland, after taking the wrong turn on the way to Strasbourg, Politico reports. As the publication says, “It was an incident that will do nothing to deter those who deride the institution as a Mickey Mouse Parliament.” According to Politico, “after departing from Brussels Midi station, the train left Charles de Gaulle Airport and headed to Marne la Vallée Chessy, where Disneyland is located—causing a 45-minute delay.”
The incident has been the butt of many a joke since, even from MEPs themselves. “Team Disneyland,” wrote Dutch MEP Samira Rafaela in a photo she posted on X. One parliamentary assistant jokingly complained there were “no free attractions” on the train. Another parliamentary assistant joked that the Parliament should now adopt Disney’s catchphrase: “Where dreams come true.”
“Donald Duck was unavailable for comment,” the publication quips.
In theory, this was a slip up on the part of the railway company. But in practice, given the backstory, the “unplanned visit to Disneyland” may deal a serious blow to the shreds of the European Parliament’s credibility, if it has not already done so.
For a start, the European Parliament in Europe itself is already ironically dubbed “Mickey Mouse Parliament”, being compared to a traveling circus, what with its members acting so “seriously”, “thoughtfully” and “professionally”. As it turns out, the blatant incompetence of the European Parliament has been noticed not only in Azerbaijan. Alberto Alemanno, founder of the Brussels-based NGO Good Lobby, posted a telling comment on X: “The image of the EU Parliament as a peripatetic circus [is] getting more real by the hour.”
On top of that, the incident with the MEPs’ unplanned visit to Disneyland brought back one more thing. The European Parliament charters a special train every month to transport MEPs, their assistants, officials, etc. from Brussels to Strasbourg and back. Moreover, MEPs are demanding that more trains be chartered. For example, Socialist MEP Pedro Silva Pereira said at a closed-door meeting in April that there was a lack of seats on the trains to Strasbourg and asked if the Parliament could charter more trains. But Christophe Hansen, a European People’s Party MEP dealing with administrative matters, told the same meeting that there were not enough trains available.
This is a practice vividly reminiscent of Kim Jong-un’s armored train, and it is justly criticized by many Europeans. MEPs and their assistants traveling between the two cities with piles of papers are wryly called “migratory birds”, but the leadership of the European Parliament sees nothing wrong with such “special trains”, saying that, according to the treaty establishing the European Union, Strasbourg is the official seat of the European Parliament. Amid corruption scandals, sponsored resolutions and the activity of various “groups of influence”, such Kim Jong-un-style travels add a telling touch to the overall picture.
And something tells us that there will be no comment on the very practice of chartering trains, not only from Donald Duck, but also from the leadership of the European Parliament, where the level of corruption is clearly off the charts.