Plenary-Tuesdays have a tendency to be a bit on the manic side. This is what it all looked like today:

6.30 Wake-up call. I go through the agenda of the day and do last minute preparations for the press breakfast.

7.30 Transfer from the hotel in the good company of my colleague Terry Wynn.

7.45 I go through the national and international media. In Finland there is only one topic at the moment: the Presidential elections. Even Le Monde has Tarja Halonen (the President in office) on its cover. Many international papers deal with yesterday’s violent demonstrations in Strasbourg

8.30 Traditional press breakfast with the Finnish EPP delegation. I talk about the European Constitution. Ville Itälä talks about the budget. Piia-Noora Kauppi talks about the directive on port services. Eija-Riitta Korhola briefs the media on her Århus report. Ari Vatanen (French delegation) and Tunne Kelam (Estonian delegation) talk about Chechnya.

Breakfast with the press. MEPs Itälä, Vatanen, Kauppi, yours truly and Korhola.

9.30 Back to the office. I write tomorrow’s column in Ilta-Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper. I focus on the European social model. My e-mail starts to fill up with messages on the Resolution on Homophobia. The final negotiations will not be easy. I make a few calls and agree the line to take in the EPP-ED group meeting.

10.30 I run to our group’s preparatory meeting of the Internal Market Committee. Malcolm Harbour chairs the meeting with charm and efficiency, as always. Andreas Schwab is elected vice coordinator. Great! We get briefed on the state of play in the final negotiations on the services directive. It all seems to be going rather well. I keep my fingers crossed thatr freedom to provide services beats protectionism.

11.30 Calls from international and national journalists continue. Two topics seem to be of interest: the resolutions on homophobia and the Constitution. I have a quick look at the voting list.

12.00 Voting begins. I feel a bit uneasy with some of the votes on European Citizenship, but decide to stick to the group line. A whip is a whip. Our group wins the vote. The report falls.

12.40 The voting ends. An unusually short voting session. I need my daily exercise fix and dash to the gym. After 45 minutes I feel rejuvenated.

13.45 A quick e-mail check. Everything seems to be under control. Who could survive without assistants? No one! My assistants are fantastic!

14.00 Meeting with the Finnish EPP delegation. We go through current affairs, travels and events in the coming months, and the delegation budget. As treasurer of the delegation I am pleased that the budget is ok.

Delegation meeting.

15.00 I dash of to our group’s CoCoBu (Committee on budgetary control) preparatory meeting. Javier Pomes chairs the meeting with his usual charm. Fun. As shadow raporteur on the Commission’s discharge and raporteur on the cost of interpretation, I outline the state of play. I seem to be getting nods of approval…at least I hope so.

15.45 Time to talk about the Constitution in our preparatory meeting for the Constitutional Committee. Good discussion. We stick to the agreed line. As shadow raporteur, I am happy. Inigo Mendez de Vigo is our coordinator. Does a great job, as always. A real mover and shaker in the Parliament, one of the most respected members. And a great guy.

16.45 After the group meeting Inigo Mendez de Vigo, Beatrice Scarascia and I go through the voting list. Everything seems to be in order.

17.00 I get back to office. The inbox is full again. A few urgencies. I make a few calls and try to sort things out. A quick check at the latest news. Finnish media continues to focus on the Presidential elections. The race is on.

18.00 I sit down to prepare the EPP-ED group meeting. Somehow I have a feeling that we are in for an interesting meeting…

Preparing for the group meeting.

19.00 The group meeting begins. The main party of the meeting is devoted to the directive on ports. Tough debate.

The group meeting.

20.45 At the end of the meeting we get into the resolution on homophobia. It is an issue of conscience, not easy. Timothy Kirkhope, Simon Coveney, Avril Doyle, Piia-Noora Kauppi, Gunnar Hökmark, Roselyne Bachelot, Ewa Klamt and many others give great support. At the end of the day we decide on some split votes and decide to vote in favour of the resolution.

21.20 The meeting ends and I finish the voting list with Adam Isaacs, who works for our group. He has done a fantastic job, as has Heli Lehtonen, my assistant.

22.15 I decide to call it a day and leave for the hotel.

22.30 Time for a quick bite to eat.

23.30 Lights off. Need some rest before breakfast with Commissioner Olli Rehn tomorrow morning at 8.00.

Being an MEP is fun, right?