Friday

22nd Nov 2019

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 20 year's of archives. 30-day 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."

EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution

The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) pledge at its Zagreb congress to deliver a middle-ground compromise between "utopian environmental policies" and climate-change denial.

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

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 congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us