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Nico speaks in the European Parliament plenary hall in Strasbourg. He’s wearing a black hoodie covered with logos of different consultancy companies.Mathieu Cugnot / European Parliament

About Nico

Nico Semsrott has failed his way to the top in his career as demotivational coach. Called the "saddest comedian in the world," he had learned through poetry slams, solo performances and YouTube videos how to make people enthusiastic for depressing topics. And because nothing is more depressing than politicians who do satire, he then decided to go on the counter-attack and do politics as a satirist. In the 2019 European elections, Nico, as Die PARTEI's candidate for Commission President, made his way into the European Parliament. "The EU is in a deep crisis," he declared, "and so am I."

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FAQ #

Nico receives too many messages. Please check before writing him whether your question has already been answered in the FAQ!

Nico Semsrott is sitting in his office. He has a telephone up to each ear while two more are being held out to him.Genevieve Engel / European Parliament

How many hoodies does Nico own?

He has lost count, but at least 15. There is a coat-hanger buried under black hoodies in a corner of his office. No matter how many he owns though, Nico only wears one: his favorite hoodie.

Does Nico have a girlfriend?

Nico refuses to answer this question and suspects that his team only included it to flatter him. He doubts that anyone would actually want to know this.

Is Nico serious?

He asks himself the same question every day.

How can I support Nico?

At the moment, you can help Nico by supporting his petition 1156/2019. You can do this here (but you first need to create an account, sorry). The petition asks to officially rename the plenary hall in Brussels as "Strasbourg," so the Parliament can stop taking its pointless journeys to France.

And as always, you can support him by subscribing to his various social media channels (YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), and by liking and sharing his content.

Nico and his team are hard at work to create more opportunities for working together.

Why is Nico in politics?

Because democracy and accountability only work when there is an interested public. So far, the EU's brand of unintentional satire has failed to interest the public. Nico is now giving it a try with intentional satire.

Why did the Greens join Nico?

The main motivation was to weaken the fascists within the Identity and Democracy group (ID), to which the Alternative for Germany (AfD) belongs. With Nico on board, the Greens were able to stop the Nazis from becoming the fourth-largest group in the European Parliament. This means that they received fewer speaking rights and committee seats. Unfortunately, Brexit has since allowed the ID group to overtake the Greens.

Another reason regards infrastructure. There are logistical benefits to being able to work with colleagues within the group.

Why does Nico vote the way he does?

It's mostly "monkey see monkey do." Nico follows the votes of his group, the Greens/EFA.

Nico made a conscious decision to do this. He was not elected to deal with the details of legislation, but rather to promote transparency and awareness of what is going on in the EU. This is what he stands for (even when he is laying down).

This is how the votes go: In the European Parliament, they are held in rapid succession, often in ten-second intervals during an uninterrupted one-hour session. And even every non-binding resolution is made up of several pages, on top of which multiple pages of proposed amendments are added.

It is impossible for a single MEP to keep up with it all, let alone to understand fully each issue at hand. The honest answer is that Nico does not know in detail what he is voting on. And he is certain that the same could be said of all other representatives.

It is all so complex and multi-faceted that Nico would need dozens of assistants to examine everything that is up for vote. Fortunately, in the Green/EFA group there are experts for every policy area that deal intensively with certain topics. Without a voting-list prepared and printed out by the political group, nobody would be able to vote correctly, because they all would be too busy trying to read the details.

Sometimes Nico sees the need for representative representative democracy. In situations like this, he would gladly let himself to be represented by a representative of a representative of the people. And then he will vote his own way when it is clear that the result will be close.

Nico makes up 1/705th of the Parliament, meaning his vote counts for 0.14 percent of the total. You can spin this however you like, but this is not much power. This is why most of his votes are purely symbolic. His voice, given the current (overwhelmingly neoliberal) majority, is not at all decisive. That's just how it is.

What does Nico think about the following issues?

  • Decriminalizing all drugs
  • Universal basic income
  • Free, Europe-wide public transport

He is open to all three, and thinks they are worth a try. In general, it is worth trying out everything that has promise and seeing what works.

There is enough money within the EU to experiment with basic income and, if it proves successful, introduce it generally.

What were Nico's main campaign promises?

  1. 60 videos in 60 months (=get people to pay attention to the EU=improve public oversight)
  2. Introduce democracy to the EU
  3. Slap climate change deniers with a maximum penalty (revocation of driver's license)

What is the status of his other campaign promises?

  • Live off of the free food provided at lobby events: ✅. Conclusion: Technically possible, morally difficult.
  • Wear his hoody in the Parliament: ✅
  • Ensure gender equality in the office: currently three women and two men. Plus Nico. ✅ (As of: 13.07.2020)
  • Advocate for transparency

What has Nico accomplished so far?

  • Temporarily ended the Parliament’s trips to Strasbourg (Covid-19 may have also played a role)
  • Submitted the petition with the most signatures in the Parliament’s online system since 2013
  • Took his badge photo with his hood on
  • Prevented Manfred Weber from becoming Commission President
  • Before his mandate: Used Twitter to force the CDU to take down all of its stolen videos from its YouTube channel

Why hasn’t Nico released any videos lately?

Not to worry, Nico and his team have been hard at work creating more videos. They have decided to concentrate all of their energy on developing one large project, which will be released as soon as their modest capacities allow.

When is Nico's next performance?

At the moment, there are no solo performances planned. Booking requests are not being accepted for now. Appearances as a demotivational coach on the "heute show" are not allowed during Nico’s mandate, per ZDF rules.

Can Nico come visit us? Does Nico accept invitations?

For now, no. Nico's constituency is the internet and he visits it regularly through his social media channels. Also, he was on tour for twelve years and has seen more of central Europe than he would like to have. The very thought of going back on tour wears him out.

Can Nico draw attention to something for me?

Nico does not wish to be lobbied. He knows very well that there are thousands of issues that receive too little attention. But Nico and his team decide for themselves which topics to deal with. When it makes sense, they will ask for input from Nico’s followers or the general public. And when they choose a topic and need help understanding it better, they will approach the experts they deem fit.

Where can I find Nico merchandise?

Nowhere, currently. Producing and selling merch proved to be overwhelming, and Nico is overwhelmed by too many things already, so he decided to stop making more for now. If you are curious about what he produced in the past, or if you want to see to which organisations he donated the proceeds, see here.

Nico is currently out of autograph cards as well. Sorry.

Why is the plenary hall always empty?

Surprisingly, it’s because the MEPs are busy working. It is a good thing that the plenary hall is empty. This is because everything happens at once during the plenary weeks: MEPs come to the plenary hall to pronounce things, while the actual work takes place elsewhere in working groups, committees and political group meetings.

This means that while a few dozen people sit in the plenary hall to speak about the subjects that they especially care about, hundreds of other MEPs are sitting in meetings somewhere else.

There is one exception. The plenary hall is full during the votes which usually take place once a day during plenary weeks.

From a PR perspective, it is extremely dumb that the Parliament shows the empty plenary hall without explaining why no one is there.

How often is Nico at the Parliament?

For the first time in his life, Nico has a normal five-day work-week. He goes every day to the Parliament, regardless of whether it is a committee week in Brussels, a plenary week in Strasbourg, or a "green week" when the other MEPs visit their constituencies (or play hooky). During Corona-time, Nico, like most other Members of the European Parliament, works from home and votes remotely.

When is Nico in Strasbourg and when is he in Brussels?

The European Parliament has an ugly and confusing calendar. To help you make sense of it: Four red days in a row indicate a plenary week in Strasbourg. Green weeks mean that MEPs are visiting their constituencies. White means the Parliament is empty. The rest takes place in Brussels.

Why does Nico have so many employees?

Everyone wants something from Nico. Some want videos, some want autographs, some have questions about his political commitment and some even want to marry him. How can one person manage all this alone? Therefore, Nico has the following employees to support him: a project manager, a video producer, a graphic designer and two authors.

With other MEPs it's usually a little different. There is typically one office manager and two people who deal with committee work, plus staff in the local constituency office.

Can Nico do something for us?

Probably not. Even though Nico is a demotivational coach, he secretly admires the work being done by so many idealistic young people and would like very much to support it (he means this without any irony: You're all great, keep it up!). But he just doesn't have the energy. Nico is often flooded with requests and is simply overwhelmed by it all. Unfortunately, he also lacks the energy to fulfill individual autograph requests, send out greeting messages and meet with visitor groups. Nico cares about reaching as many people as possible, even if only in a modest way. Hm, does this make sense? Let's put this another way: If Nico had the choice to either reach 100,000 people virtually or a visitor group of 20 more intensely, he would rather invest his time in the video with 100,000 viewers. He hopes you understand.

Can I get in touch with Nico personally?

No. As mentioned, Nico is simply in over his head. He can only be reached through his office address above. Sometimes his team will respond.

Contact us

In case you couldn't find an answer in the FAQ and still would like to write us a message, please state the reason why. This helps us to be able to process your message as quickly as possible.

Support with depression

If you are dealing with depression, or fear that you might be, the most important thing is that you let other people in on your thoughts. Nico and his team are not trained specialists. However, they do want to ensure that your message does not go unheard. This is why they have put together a page with emergency contacts and ask you to take a look at the information provided.

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Press

In case of press-related requests, please get in contact with Nico's press officer:

Isabel Prößdorf
press@nicosemsrott.eu

Public domain photos are available on the EP's Multimedia Center.