Saturday

15th Dec 2018

Social Democrat MEP criticizes European Parliament

Danish Social Democratic MEP, Torben Lund, has warned against giving more power to the European Parliament, because they spend 75 per cent of their time talking about things on which they have no competence. He also complained of his party's "lulling people asleep" on the outcome of the Convention.

In the 1999 EU Parliamentary election Torben Lund was the foremost candidate on the Danish Social Democratic Party’s list, but now he tells Danish paper Jyllands-Posten that he is suffering disenchantment with the "climate" in the European Parliament.

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

"It is a culture where the parliamentarians see the governments of the member countries in the Council and the national parliaments as their adversaries. The problem is that in the European Parliament you find an unlimited urge for more power, and that is why they see the other institutions as competitors."

Torben Lund says that the EU parliamentarians see themselves as the true representatives of the peoples of the member countries. He points out that less than half the EU citizens voted in the 1999 elections, and that Danish national parliamentarians and ministers have far closer contact with their voters.

But even in Danish political life Torben Lund sees dangers for democracy in the manner in which his party colleagues view the work going on in the Convention, warning that the result is quite likely to result in a new treaty or constitution, giving more power to the European Parliament.

"The most dangerous people are those who say that it does not matter whether we call the treaty that is under way a constitution or not. They are lulling the citizens to sleep as to what is going on. I am afraid that in 2004 we shall have a situation where the citizens will be caught [unaware] .... Then they will have the choice between accepting a European constitution leading to a kind of federation or withdrawing from the EU. That is not a genuine choice," he told Jyllands-Posten.

Torben Lund is not going to stand for the next European Parliament, and his criticism of Danish politicians is, in particular, aimed at his successor as Social Democratic frontrunner, former minister and present Convention representative, Henrik Dam Kristensen.

According to Jyllands-Posten, Torben Lund emphasises the fact that he has not yet become an eurosceptic, but if in 2004 a referendum is called on an EU constitution, he is going to vote No."

EU leaders stuck on asylum reform

Migration was overshadowed by Brexit at the EU summit, with leaders stuck on key legislation. Some warned that free movement could be at risk.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders endorse creation of eurozone budget
  2. Selmayr has no comment on MEPs' call to resign
  3. May had 'robust' discussion with Juncker
  4. UK to continue talks on EU 'assurances'
  5. EU invests €20m in AI software for self-driving cars
  6. Belgian PM 'not optimistic', urges 'no deal' Brexit preparedness
  7. Romanian president expects no Brexit summit in January
  8. Swedish MPs reject Lofven to lead new government

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. No further Brexit talks planned, despite May's pleas
  2. EU leaders stuck on asylum reform
  3. Orban and other PMs spread fake news, says Juncker
  4. Fishing quota and no-deal Brexit preparation This WEEK
  5. Kosovo has right to own army, Germany and US say
  6. EU needs election-meddling stress tests
  7. Russian and US obstruction was 'insult' to climate scientists
  8. EU-27 unimpressed by May, offer little on Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us