9th Apr 2020

Eurosceptic MEPs group together against Constitution

A group of eurosceptic MEPs have launched an alliance against the European Constitution – just three days before the document is due to be signed by EU leaders.

Called 'The Referendum Group', it crosses the political spectrum in the European Parliament and is expected to comprise up to 100 MEPs.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • Ask European citizens, say MEPs (Photo: European Commission)

Unveiling the alliance on Tuesday in Strasbourg (26 October), UK Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan said one of their main wishes is for a referendum on the Constitution in every country – currently just under half of the 25 member states have promised to have a referendum.

Mr Hannan also called for governments to abide by the verdict saying that if there are yes votes "we will abide by that outcome. But we are concerned that there is no equivalent readiness on the other side to respect the people’s verdict".

The fact that parts of the Constitution are already being put into place was also criticised by the MEP, who added that 19 of the 25 Commissioners starting in November have indicated they do not intend to wait for a formal implementation of the new Treaty.

Finnish Left MEP Esko Seppänen, who is also one of the three presidents of the Group, said his main reason for being against the Constitution was because "it means militarisation of the EU".

Echoing this, Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter said, "we were promised that this was a peace project" - referring to the fact that a core group of member states can move forward in defence if they wish.

However, it was less clear what concrete actions would be taken by the group.

According to Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde, one of the co-founders of the alliance, the Referendum Group will meet once a week and will prepare a "minority report" to be attached to the main report of the European Parliament when it gives its verdict on the Constitution in December.

MEPs in the alliance will also, if asked, travel to member states to explain the Constitution to citizens.


First 100 days: Digital and Green Deal policies hit by crises

The first 100 days of Ursula von der Leyen's commission were supposed to be about the digital and environmental transitions. However, that agenda has been hit by first the coronavirus, and now the Greek border situation.


How corporate lobbyists steer EU law-making

Former EUobserver investigations editor Peter Teffer has written a new book about how lobbying in the EU works. The EU's focus on the internal market offers corporate lobbyists a perfect means to forward their interests.


G4S: the EU's preferred security contractor

The British multinational security company G4S lost its contract with the European Parliament in 2011 in a backlash from MEPs over alleged abuses in Israel. Today, they guard the parliament's main entrance and have become the EU's top security provider.


EU commissioner lobbied by energy firm he owns shares in

EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn owns 2,200 shares in Austria's largest electricity provider. Those shares have tripled in value since he first declared them in 2014. In January, the firm met his head of cabinet to discuss climate policy.

EU transparency on lobbyist meetings still piecemeal

Small steps are being made to reveal who is lobbying who within the EU. But the approach is basically haphazard and piecemeal - meaning the public remains largely in the dark and unable to truly scrutinise the influencers.

'Top-down' future of Europe conference 'will fail' warning

The new president of the Committee of the Regions has warned the EU Commission that a top-down, centralised, Brussels-driven conference will fail to rebuild trust in Europe. Instead, he proposes a stronger say for local and regional authorities.

News in Brief

  1. EU commission launches green finance consultation
  2. EU parliament kitchens to cook for homeless
  3. EU sets aside €15.6bn for virus fight in Africa and beyond
  4. CO2 emissions from EU plunge 60 percent
  5. EU to keep external borders closed to 15 May
  6. Coronavirus: 500m people at risk of poverty, says Oxfam
  7. EU injunction blocks Polish judicial tribunal
  8. EU's science chief resigns over 'disappointing' Covid-19 action

This is the (finally) approved European Commission

MEPs gave the green light to the entire new European Commission during the plenary session in Strasbourg - but with the abstention of the Greens and a rejection by the leftist group GUE/NGL.


Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders
  2. EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign
  3. EU delays 'exit strategies' plan, as WHO urges caution
  4. EU stalemate after 16-hour meeting on economic aid
  5. The future of 'Made in China' after coronavirus?
  6. Refugees across Europe help fight the pandemic
  7. The price of a European order
  8. Belgium has most overcrowded prisons in EU

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us