Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Interview

EU election now a 'proxy referendum' on Brexit

  • The UK may end up contesting the European elections on 23 May after all - despite voting to leave the EU in 2016, and supposedly leaving on March 29 (Photo: European Parliament)

Molly Scott Cato, a Green MEP from the UK, is preparing to stay on as European parliament deputy for another five years.

"The European election campaign will become a proxy referendum, we will have vast enthusiasm for the EU," she told this website on Wednesday (10 April).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

But big questions remain.

EU heads of state and government on Wednesday night will set a new deadline for UK's departure from the European Union.

The initial 29 March cut-off date, already replaced by 12 April, will likely now extend far beyond what prime minister Theresa May had hoped for.

If it does, then the UK may go to the European polls on 23 May. Up for grabs are 73 spots in the 751-seat assembly.

Some current British MEPs and other future hopefuls are now gearing up for a snap European election campaign. Nigel Farage's new Brexit party is also recruiting candidates.

A poll released on Wednesday by the eurosceptic think tank, Open Europe, has outlined the voting intentions of the British public in the European elections.

It found 37.8 percent would vote Labour, 23 percent Conservative and only 10.3 percent Brexit party.

The projected Conservative hammering comes on the back of more than two years of Brexit talks, exposing deep rifts within the British government and within May's own cabinet.

"All that is left is angry people on one side, a lot of confused people in the middle and people like me that are desperately trying to save my country from the total disaster," says Scott Cato.

British MEPs

Questions remain, however, on whether British MEPs will be sidelined in the next legislature.

Claude Moraes, a senior British labour MEP, was earlier this month removed as rapporteur for a parliamentary legislative report on the Brexit visa waiver file.

Moraes blamed Spain, and its insistence to describe Gibraltar as a "colony of the British crown'.

But Cato dismisses the incident as an exception.

She noted many pro-EU MEPs tend to vote along party lines, leaving behind national interests, unlike the member states in the European Council.

"I am a Green, as well as a Brit, and usually I vote with the Green group rather than in the interests of Britain," she said.

She also pointed out that other MEPs from around Europe have been supportive, declaring that British MEPs retain full rights as members until the day they leave the union.

Her plan, if elected for another term, is to help strip the unanimity rule for member states on issues dealing with taxation.

The conservative UK government opposes tax harmonisation. But Brexit has cast a long shadow over May's leadership and her governing party.

"I am sure that a Labour government would look much more favourably on cooperative tax policy in Europe," warned Cato.

EU leaders ponder long vs short Brexit delay

EU leaders will discuss a Brexit extension, as requested by the British PM, to avoid a no-deal Brexit and allow more time for MPs to ratify the divorce deal. But they disagree on the length of the delay.

Tusk tells May not to ignore anti-Brexit UK citizens

As British MPs are poised to give an advisory vote on possible Brexit alternatives, EU Council chief Donald Tusk has called on Theresa May's government to listen to those who British citzens want to stop Brexit.

Opinion

How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament

British plans to - maybe - take part in EU elections risk legal chaos in the next European Parliament, which could be resolved only by treaty change - an unlikely prospect.

EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner

The European Commission has started an infringement proceeding against the United Kingdom for failing to nominate a commissioner-candidate. The new commission, which wants to launch on 1 December, first requires a commissioner from each of the 28 EU states.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  2. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  3. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears
  4. Finland: EU 'not brain dead' on enlargement
  5. The labour market is not ready for the future
  6. Parliament should have 'initiation' role
  7. AI skewed to young, male, and western EU, report warns
  8. US and EU go separate ways on Israeli settlers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us