Friday

4th Dec 2020

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

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

  • 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.

EU keen to repair damage of Trump years

The EU has set out how to undo the damage caused by four years of US president Donald Trump's rule, by trying to "make multilateralism great again".

Coronavirus

Revealed: Hit to EU mental health services during Covid-19

The pandemic has both hampered access to mental health services, while increasing demand for psychological support, particularly in countries with the most severe coronavirus lockdowns. Meanwhile, experts warn that 'teletherapy' is not a universal fix.

MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex

Some MEPs now want a formal inquiry into Frontex, plus member states, and the European Commission over allegations of illegal pushbacks. Dutch MEP Tineke Strik says she has so far received backing from the Greens, liberals and far-left GUE.

News in Brief

  1. Greek island to get new EU-backed migration camp
  2. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing dies from Covid-19 complications
  3. Belgium denied residency permits to 15,000 EU nationals
  4. Centre-right EU lawmakers want to kick out Fidesz MEP
  5. Slovak journalist's killer gets longer sentence
  6. Egyptian leader embarks on 'execution spree'
  7. Covid-19: UK first to approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  8. Car kills five people in German town's pedestrian zone

MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex

Some MEPs now want a formal inquiry into Frontex, plus member states, and the European Commission over allegations of illegal pushbacks. Dutch MEP Tineke Strik says she has so far received backing from the Greens, liberals and far-left GUE.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  3. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  5. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja

Latest News

  1. EU keen to repair damage of Trump years
  2. Szájer 'sex party' coverage shows Orbán's media control
  3. EU Commission mulls ways round Hungary-Poland block
  4. Revealed: Hit to EU mental health services during Covid-19
  5. MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex
  6. Erdoğan to face human rights scrutiny next week, EU says
  7. 2020 Prague European Summit: 'Real solutions, acting together'
  8. Nationwide protests reveal awakening of Poland's youth

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us