9th Mar 2021

EPP heavyweights clash over Constitution representation

Two political heavyweights in the European People's Party - the biggest political group in the European Parliament - are fighting to be the party's representative in the intergovernmental talks on the European Constitution.

A vote taken within the group yesterday (24 September) between Spanish MEP Inigo Mendez de Vigo and his German colleague Elmar Brok saw a dead heat between the two (95 votes each).

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This unprecedented result left the group in some disarray – and it hastily arranged a meeting to discuss it yesterday evening.

Group president, Hans-Gert Pöttering, was put in a very difficult position.

Awkward solution: two should go

So, in the best tradition of political compromises, an awkward solution was found. Both men should represent the Parliament, says the group. They should take turns to go to the IGC according to the policy area.

"If they had tossed a coin, it would have been much easier", said one group insider fearing that this will lead to other political groups in the Parliament asking to send two people, as well.

The Conference of Presidents – leaders of the Parliament’s political groups - will discuss the proposed solution this morning.

Normally these things are decided by etiquette - such as the older person getting the position (in this case Mr Brok). However, both men were too determined to get their way for this solution to be used.

Important roles in the Convention

Both Mr Mendez de Vigo and Mr Brok played important roles in the Convention deliberations which led to the draft Constitution.

The Spaniard was also part of President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's inner team on the Convention.

The parliament is set to have two - possibly three - representatives in the intergovernmental conference (IGC) to fine tune the treaty blueprint.

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