Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

Pro-EU forces shut out eurosceptics from Parliament top jobs

  • Eurosceptics were shut out of the Parliament's committee jobs on Monday. (Photo: European Parliament)

Eurosceptic deputies were denied several of the European Parliament's top committee posts on Monday (7 July), as the assembly's centrist groups joined forces to shut them out.

The committees elected chairpersons and vice-chairpersons using the “D'Hondt method” on the relative sizes of the EU assembly's seven political groups.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Twenty one of the 22 committee chair posts, and the vast majority of the 88 vice-chair roles, were uncontested and elected by acclaim.

However, the conservative EPP, centre-left S&D and liberal Alde groups on the petitions committee joined forces to reject Eleanora Evi, a member of the eurosceptic EFDD group from Italian comic Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement, instead voting by a 23 to eight margin in favour of Swedish liberal Cecilia Wijkstrom.

The eurosceptic ECR, left-wing GUE, and Green groups, had all backed Evi.

Evi herself said the result was “anti-democratic and immoral,” while EFDD group leader, Britain’s Nigel Farage, said “the europhile groups have again demonstrated their fear of democracy, their hatred of minority views, and their clear rejection of transparency.”

Margrete Auken, the Green spokesman on the petitions committee, described the move as a "blow to the democratic process in the EU Parliament.”

“It is all the more important for the petitions committee, given its role in defending rules and rights and standing up to interference by special interests,” she said. She added that Evi “appears to have all the qualifications and the right approach to adequately exercise this duty".

The petitions committee does not deal with legislation, but instead responds to some 1,500 petitions sent each year by citizens across the EU, in what seemed to some a good fit with the Five Star Movement’s call for more direct democracy.

A spokesman for the Gue group confirmed it had “no fundamental problem” with Evi's candidacy, adding that the d’Hondt method exists to “respect the strengths of the political groups and the number of their MEPs as elected by citizens”.

The EFDD were not the only ones to lose out.

ECR deputies Bernd Lucke and Beatrix Storch, both members of the Alternative fuer Deutschland party, were rejected by the economic affairs and women's rights committees, respectively.

Such committee controversies are rare, but not unprecendented.

Five years ago Marta Andreassen, a deputy from Farage’s Ukip party who later defected to the ECR group, was opposed by the centrist groups after being nominated as a vice-chair of the budgetary control committee.

As expected, the EPP and S&D groups claimed the lion's-share of the top posts, taking eight and six committee chairmanships, respectively.

Agenda

Barroso takes the stand in Dalli case This WEEK

EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will take the witness stand at the European Court of Justice this week in the latest act of the Dalligate lobbying scandal.

MEPs to seal agreement on committee chair jobs

After electing a new(ish) President and most of their administrative posts, MEPs will return to Brussels next week to complete unfinished election business – the chairperson positions of the Parliament’s 20 standing committees.

Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP

Reinhard Buetikofer, who participated in the failed coalition talks, puts the blame squarely on FDP being 'afraid to govern', but hopes "there will be a lot of phone calls" to German politicians on the consequences of the deadlock in Berlin.

Opinion

Eastern partners, eastern problems

The EU must hold out the olive branch of possible membership in the distant future - but the current domestic problems in the ex-Soviet states, let alone their links to Russia make more than that difficult.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya