Monday

1st Jun 2020

Give pan-EU parties TV airspace, MEPs say

European political parties should be allowed to make political broadcasts in European Parliament elections next May, according to a report backed by MEPs on Tuesday (28 May).

The report - drafted by Andrew Duff, a British deputy in the Liberal group - also says national election authorities should put the names and emblems of pan-European parties on ballot papers across the EU.

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  • The 2009 election had a lousy turnout despite a PR campaign (Photo: European Parliament/Pietro Naj-Oleari)

The Duff report is not legally binding.

But it is the latest part of wider efforts to make sure next year's elections will amount to more than 28 separate national campaigns.

"The 2014 election campaign will be more interesting, more European and more political than previous elections," said Duff following the vote in the constitutional affairs committee, which endorsed his paper by 20 to 4.

In another new twist, the big EU political groups are to publicly nominate candidates for the post of European Commission chief months in advance of the poll.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is seen as a favourite for the centre-right EPP group candidate.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Martin Schulz, the German head of the EU parliament, have been touted as possible candidates for the centre-left S&D faction.

Former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt is a potential Liberal group runner.

The commission job is expected to go to the group which tops the vote in the Parliament elections, due between 22 and 25 May.

The date of the vote itself has been moved forward to avoid summer holidays and improve turnout.

In the 30 years between the first EU parliament elections in 1979 and the last one in 2009, turnout has fallen fro over 60 percent to 43 percent.

Meanwhile, the assembly has evolved from a 'talking shop' to a real co-legislator alongside national ministers in the EU Council.

In 2009, the EPP came top with 265 seats or 36 percent of the vote.

The Socialists suffered a horrible defeat, claiming just 183 seats (25%).

For 2014, the European Greens were the first party to launch the selection process for their commission chief candidate.

Party members and supporters will vote online in a pan-European primary next January and February to select two names, one of whom will go into the commission race.

With establishment groups in many EU countries bearing the brunt of frustration over their handling of the EU economic crisis, next year's results might be less predictable than usual.

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