Tuesday

6th Dec 2022

New European Conservatives group in disarray over renegade MEP

  • The political manoeuvring continues apace this week in Strasbourg (Photo: European Parliament)

The newly-formed European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR) is embroiled in a kerfuffle over a vice-presidency post in the European Parliament.

Edward McMillan-Scott, a UK Conservative, has been expelled from the Conservative Party after staging a renegade bid for the post.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

His actions resulted in Michal Tomasz Kaminski, a Polish MEP and official candidate of the anti-federalist group for the post, not getting elected as one of the parliament's 14 vice-presidents.

"Mr McMillan-Scott had his whip suspended when he indicated he was putting in his nomination for vice president of the European Parliament," a spokesperson for the Conservatives told the Daily Telegraph.

The move exposes the divisions within the British Conservatives about the wisdom of moving away from its alliance of previous years with the European People's Party - the EU's assembly's biggest political group - to set up a new faction with socially conservative allies, mainly from Poland.

A UK conservative, who strongly opposed the party setting up its own political shop in the parliament, Mr McMillan-Scott was not put forward by the ECR group but instead gained entry to the candidate list through the backing of 40 individual MEPs.

There is now speculation about whether Mr McMillan-Scott will be accepted in to the EPP as an independent British MEP, reducing membership of the ECR to 54 deputies.

Mr Kaminski narrowly lost out to MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin for the last place after three rounds of voting.

The German Liberal caused a sensation last year when she claimed male MEPs wanted to keep Strasbourg as the venue for the monthly plenary sessions as it made it easier for them to visit prostitutes.

This claim, along with a poor attendance record and a series of run-ins with the media, has not helped the MEP climb the popularity rankings within the EU legislature.

Earlier on Tuesday, Socialist leader Martin Schulz, also from Germany, said her concentration on activities outside the EU institution meant she was "less popular with people inside the European Parliament than outside".

First, second and third ballots

Three candidates successfully obtained the absolute majority necessary to be elected after the first paper ballot on Tuesday.

These were Italian Giovanni Pittella and Greek Stavros Lambrinidis from the Socialist and Democrats group, and Rodi Kratsa-Tsagarapoulou from the EPP group, also from Greece.

Traditionally the first three vice-presidents elected have greater powers than the other vice-presidents, including the right to sit on the parliament's conciliation committee – a body that attempts to unblock disputes between member states and the parliament over draft legislation.

After a second ballot none of the remaining candidates won an absolute majority sending MEPs to the ballot box for the third and final time, after which the candidates were elected according to the number of votes they obtained.

As well as the storm within the ECR group, some in France are unhappy that no French candidate was put forward for one of the largely ceremonial posts.

Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'

Ukraine and a looming economic recession is set to dominate the upcoming Swedish EU presidency, which takes over at the start of next year. Sweden's ambassador to the EU, Lars Danielsson, laid out some of its priorities.

French official accused of conflict over EU fish lobby job

A senior French official is being accused of conflicts of interest for spearheading a leading role in Europeche, a fishing-industry lobby group based in Brussels. The hire comes as the EU Commission threatens a lawsuit against France over fishing.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU countries struggle to crack Hungary's vetos
  2. Frontex expanding migrant route-busting mission in Balkans
  3. EU ministers in fresh battle on joint debt, after Biden subsidies
  4. EU: 'We'll see' if Moscow actually stops selling oil over price-cap
  5. Bad Karma
  6. Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia
  7. Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK
  8. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us