Saturday

8th May 2021

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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.

The Porto EU-India summit - let's not forget south Asia

Will this weekend's EU-India summit help translate the recently approved Council conclusions on the Indo-Pacific strategy into more pragmatic set of actions able to elevate Europe in the Asia-Pacific region?

News in Brief

  1. Report: Czech minister plotted to bury evidence on Russian attack
  2. Putin promotes Russia's 'Kalashnikov-like' vaccine
  3. Coronavirus: Indian variant clusters found across England
  4. UN report encourages EU methane cuts
  5. EU court upholds ban on bee-harming pesticides
  6. Israeli tourists welcomed back by EU
  7. EU duped into funding terrorist group, Israel says
  8. Brussels prepares portfolio of potential Covid-19 treatments

Column

'Sofagate' was more about power than sexism

Sexism may have played a role, but the deeper meaning of Ursula von der Leyen's humiliation in the palace of Turkish president Erdoğan is political and geopolitical.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU ambassadors flock to Red Square for Putin's parade
  2. MEPs win battle for bigger citizens' voice at Conference
  3. Hungary gags EU ministers on China
  4. Poland and Hungary push back on 'gender equality' pre-summit
  5. EU preparing to send soldiers to Mozambique
  6. EU now 'open' to vaccine waiver, after Biden U-turn
  7. EU mulls using new 'peace' fund to help Libyan coast guard
  8. Poland 'breaks EU law' over judges, EU court opinion says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us