Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

UK Tories lose leadership of parliament group

A Czech climate sceptic, Jan Zahradil, has won the leadership of the UK Tories' political grouping in the European Parliament, defeating a moderate British Conservative.

The British centre-right has again lost out the chief position in their ideological vehicle, the European Conservatives and Reformists, that broke away from the main centre-right and Chrisitian-Democrat-dominated political family, the European People's Party, in 2009, out of frustration at its support for European federalism.

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

  • Zahradil, an acolyte of eurosceptic Czech leader Vaclav Klaus (Photo: zahradil.eu)

Mr Zahadril, an acolyte of eurosceptic Czech leader Vaclav Klaus, defeated MEP Timothy Kirkhope, an ally of British Prime Minister but a moderate on European integration.

Mr Kirkhope, a former minister in the John Major government, and three times leader of the Tory group of MEPs, should have been a shoe-in for leader, given the Tories dominance of the ECR group.

But the Czech MEP, also known for his promotion of The Great Climate Change Swindle, a discredited anti-climate-change documentary, managed to win over sufficient numbers of the Tories, who, with 25 MEPs, easily outnumber all the other parties that make up the ECR.

In an email crowing about the result, Labour Party MEP Glenis Willmott said: "this result shows that Cameron has not only burned his party's bridges with the mainstream right in Europe, he doesn't even carry the support of the MEPs inside his new alliance."

The outgoing leader, Polish MEP Michal Kaminski, left the Law and Justice party (Pis) for what he felt were growing hard-right views in the group.

The defeat of the third leading candidate, Ryszard Legutko - also from the PiS, is something of a consolation prize to Mr Cameron however, for Mr Legutko's strident anti-gay stance is at odds with the British Tories' new embrace of gay rights.

Notorious for describing homosexuals as "faggots", Mr Legutko is also the author of a book entitled "Why I am not tolerant", supports a ban on abortion and opposes sex education in schools.

Tory MEP Dan Hannan, a climate sceptic and outspoken critic of European integration himself, cheered the result on his blog on Wednesday morning, calling Mr Zahradil a "a cerebral Czech conservative,.. a free-marketeer, a Eurosceptic, a libertarian, a flinty Czech patriot who is also a committed Anglophile and Atlanticist."

He also attacked the left for criticising his views on global warming: "So far, the best that his detractors have come up with is that he is a "climate change sceptic", by which they mean that he deviates in parts from the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen-Cancun agenda."

PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory

Warsaw and Budapest are boasting about their support for von der Leyen after the german is confirmed only by a small margin of MEPs, but the illiberals should not expect the softening of rule of law scrutiny.

Analysis

Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

The first-ever female president of the European Commission wants half of her team of commissioners to consist of women. But most of the commissioners put forward so far by EU member states so far have been male.

EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'

EU states ought to undergo a yearly "Rule of Law Review Cycle" to help stop countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Romania from backsliding on EU norms, the European Commission has said.

Analysis

What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

The vote on von der Leyen showed the fundamental change in EU politics. The rise of the European Parliament, the power of political parties, and the fragmentation of politics, are new realities to be taken into account.

Analysis

What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

The vote on von der Leyen showed the fundamental change in EU politics. The rise of the European Parliament, the power of political parties, and the fragmentation of politics, are new realities to be taken into account.

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  2. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  3. EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'
  4. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  5. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  6. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  7. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  8. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us