Tuesday

11th May 2021

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.

Catalan MEPs lose immunity, slam 'political persecution'

Catalan separatist MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí lost their parliamentary immunity - a result they have hailed as a "political victory" for bringing the conflict between Catalonia and Spain closer to the heart of Europe.

12-month Future EU Conference is 'impossible', expert warns

The debate about the much-delayed Conference on the Future of Europe so far has been locked in endless institutional infighting over who should lead the event - lowering the expectations about what can be achieved in the coming months.

Future of Europe: Nearly half of citizens want reforms

European Parliament president David Sassoli called for the Conference on the Future of Europe "to start as soon as possible". Meanwhile, nearly half of EU citizens would like to see reforms to the bloc.

EU parliament snubs anti-corruption researchers

Transparency International carried out three separate studies on integrity, of the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council (representing member states). The European Parliament refused to cooperate.

Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office

The new European Public Prosecutor's office will become operational in March. It is tasked to carry out criminal fraud investigations of the EU budget. But of the 140 required European delegated prosecutors, only nine have so far set up office.

News in Brief

  1. Lukashenko amends emergency transfer of power
  2. German centre-left picks Scholz as would-be chancellor
  3. EU has not ordered AstraZeneca vaccines beyond June
  4. Macron: Pandemic showed need for more EU integration
  5. Election win fuels Scottish nationalists' referendum plan
  6. Surge in migrant arrivals to Italian island
  7. EU embassy pays bail for Georgia opposition leader
  8. British aristocrats caught peddling Kremlin ties

MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute

The Belgian and Bulgarian prosecutors who were appointed had also not been the experts' first choice. Belgian prosecutor Jean-Michel Verelst has challenged the council's decision at the European Court of Justice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  2. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  3. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No
  4. Vaccine fairness plus Russia on table This WEEK
  5. EU ambassadors flock to Red Square for Putin's parade
  6. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  7. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  8. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us