Monday

19th Feb 2018

Opinion

'Transnational Lists' are a bad idea and here's why

  • Just more MEPs in the corridors of power - but unaccountable to an electorate (Photo: EUobserver)

The Transnational List… is a bad idea and there are many reasons why.

If it goes through, and it's big "if", there will be 27 MEPs in the European Parliament belonging nowhere. The supporters of the TNL claim that they will represent all the citizens of Europe.

Really? Have these citizens ever been asked if they want to represented in this way? Do the citizens of Europe actually exist in a kind of unified, collective fashion?

To anyone who knows Europe, the answer is a resounding no. To suggest otherwise is magical thinking, the belief that by wanting something badly enough, it will happen.

So, hypothetically, these free-floating 27 MEPs will sit there in the European parliament and be answerable to no one.

There is simply no mechanism for holding them to account.

How could the citizens of Europe, whose citizenship is dependent of their nation-state citizenship, find the way to connect with the 27? How could this supranational 27 be approached?

And why would nation state citizens identify in any way with these transnational personalities? We know all too well of the 'disconnect', of the thoroughgoing difficulty of being simultaneously a two-fold citizen.

Power without responsibility - or an electorate

It adds up to a copybook example of power without responsibility.

As we know all too well from history, that kind of unaccountable power adds up to a particular privilege – the privilege of being free from the checks and balances that are at the heart of every democratic system.

No, if this project goes through, the 27 will be accountable only to the party managers who have selected them in the first place.

The rather imaginary citizens, for whose benefit the 27 are supposed to come into being, have no role in their selection, there will be no primaries, no hustings, no debate.

And will this mean that the 27 will spend their time flitting through the 27 member states trying find their constituents?

So what we're looking at is yet another elite-driven project in Europe that will only end up making the EU even more remote from the voters than they already are.

Gyoergy Schoepflin is a Hungarian MEP and AFCO coordinator for the EPP group

MEPs to keep 27 UK seats after Brexit

The number of French MEPs will grow from 74 to 79, while Spanish MEPs will increase in number from 54 to 59. Italy, the Netherlands, and Ireland will also get more MEPs, but Germany is already at the maximum allowed.

Centre-right torpedoes pan-EU electoral lists plan

Parliament's largest group, the EPP, nixes idea of MEPs elected by citizens from multiple member states - but backs plans to keep the 'Spitzenkandidat' system for 2019, which hands power to parliament (and thus voters) to select Commission president.

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