Sunday

22nd Sep 2019

MEPs to set up anti-intergovernmentalism group

Alarmed at what they see as a rise in the European Union of 'intergovernmentalism' some euro-deputies are mounting a counter-offensive to promote the importance of the EU and its institutions.

To be known as the Spinelli group, after the Italian political thinker Altiero Spinelli and one of the "founding fathers" of the EU, the idea is the brainchild of Guy Verhofstadt, the head of the liberal group in the parliament, and his Green counterpart, Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Guy Verhofstadt - the former Belgian PM, a federalist, can often be heard lamenting the state of the EU (Photo: European Commission)

Other MEPs involved are Sylvie Goulard, a French liberal, and Isabelle Durant, a Belgian Green. The fledgling group also has the support of Jacques Delors, the grand old man of European federalism known for presiding over the European Commission at one of the most dynamic and powerful times in its history.

Mario Monti is also involved. A former competition commissioner, he recently wrote a well-received study on the importance of completing the internal market.

The details of the group are to be unveiled by Mr Verhofstadt and Mr Cohn-Bendit on Wednesday (15 September).

The remit of the group remains vague, but a 500-word memo explaining the reasoning behind it laments the growth of intergovernmentalism - - the supremacy of EU member states in decision-making at the expense of more 'European' pan-community decision-making via the European Commission and parliament - and says there should be European responses to crises.

"The organisation will be civil society based, bringing together think tanks, academics, writers and politicians who support the aims and principles laid out in the founding manifesto," said a statement by Mr Verhofstadt.

The group will "make the case for closer European integration and stand up against encroaching nationalism and intergovernmentalism that is beginning to undermine European unity," it continues.

The initiative comes on top of a tumultuous few months for the EU. The 27-nation bloc has been buffeted by the economic crisis and is still try to find its feet within the new legal architecture, the Lisbon Treaty.

The European Commission, charged with finding European solutions in such areas as economic governance, has been struggling to make its presence felt as member states have been dictating the pace of discussions over the last few months.

Both Mr Verhofstadt and Mr Cohn-Bendit are among the strongest critics of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, whom they regularly attack in plenary as not being combative enough with potentially wayward member states.

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Opinion

Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril

Matteo Salvini's recent gambit may have failed, but, in his own words: "From today you will find me even more pissed off and determined. I will go from town to town and we will take this country back."

Opinion

Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration

Brussels' current vision for cooperation on defence, where third countries can contribute but have no say in decision-making and in the guidance of operations, is unlikely to be attractive to the UK.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Podcast

Trumpworld In Europe

Pastors and plutocrats are sponsoring an ultra-conservative agenda in Europe. Many of them have links to Donald Trump.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us