Wednesday, 9 July 2008

on the European Parliament and the size of political groups therin

With a vote of 481 to 203, MEP's have voted to increase the membership numbers needed for a political grouping in the European Parliament to be formed.

At present a political group has to comprise of 20 MEP’s, representing at least 6 Member States. The new rules will change this so that 30 MEP's are needed representing 7 Member States.

Following the next European Parliament election in 2009, certain groups may suddenly disappear and their former members will have to either join new groupings or sit as unaffiliated. How can the MEP’s who voted for this claim that they are bringing the EU ‘closer to the people’?

Political Groupings act as transnational parties in the European Parliament, although they tend to agree on issues there is no requirement to vote 'the party line' as there is in Westminster. These groups usually contain sub-parties and other affiliations.

The main group in the European Parliament is the European Peoples Party – European Democrats (EPP-ED), with 288 MEP's, of which the Conservatives are members (of the sub-party European Democrats, the EPP-ED groups eurosceptic wing). One of the main pledges to come out of David Cameron during the Conservative leadership election, was a promise to pull his MEP’s out of the EPP-ED. Ditherer Cameron has still not done this, just as he hasn’t done anything about disciplining his ‘whoops-a-daisy’ expense hungry MEP’s.

The second largest grouping is the Party of European Socialists (PES) with 215 MEP’s, comprising the Labour Party and the third largest political grouping is the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE - comprising the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and the European Democratic Party) with 101 MEP’s. The Liberal Democrats are members of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.

Other groupings include the Union of European of Nations (the nationalist/eurosceptic grouping) 44 MEP’s, the European Greens-European Free Alliance (greens) 42 MEP’s and the Independence/Democracy Group (eurosceptic group which includes UKIP) with 24 MEP’s.

The Liberal Democrat position (or the ALDE’s position) was to oppose the increase in the threshold. Andrew Duff MEP stated,

Whatever one's views about their politics, it cannot be argued that these small groups do not represent a strand of European public opinion. We live in a diverse Europe, and if the European Parliament is to be the legitimate forum for post-national democracy, all sorts of minority opinions have to be given effective, if proportionate representation.


Julien Frisch 11 July 2008 at 00:21  

It is always the same: The big political groups want to undermine political competition by reducing the effective chances of smaller parties to receive necessary funds for their political work. That is called: "Big politics"...

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