Thursday

21st Nov 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 20 year's of archives. 30-day 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.

EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans

An emergency resolution adopted at the European People's Party (EPP) congress in Zagreb calls on the EU Council and member states to take a positive decision on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible.

Magazine

New EU financial instruments needed

The European Union will need more integration and economic and fiscal instruments to survive the next economic and financial crisis.

Magazine

Binding measures to expand gender balance

Ursula von der Leyen, the first female president of the EU commission, has put a lot of emphasis on trying to create a gender-balanced EU executive. Expanding gender balance will also be a top priority for the FEMM committee.

Opinion

Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong

As EU foreign affairs ministers meet in Brussels, we have seen unarmed protestors in Hong Kong shot at point blank range, others bloody and beaten, and then incarcerated over the border in mainland China in prison camps.

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

News in Brief

  1. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  2. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  3. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  4. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  5. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  6. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  7. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'
  8. Luxembourg: EU ought to recognise Palestine

Magazine

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. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  2. New EU financial instruments needed
  3. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  4. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  5. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  6. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  7. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  8. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us