Friday

14th May 2021

Call for Europeans to elect 25 MEPs from EU-wide list

  • The plans were supported by members of the constitutional affairs committee (Photo: European Parliament)

Members of the European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee have backed a report that calls for the creation of 25 additional MEPs, elected on a pan-European basis in order to boost the legislature's popular legitimacy.

The report's draftsman, Liberal UK MEP Andrew Duff, also hopes the scheme will in effect result in the election of the president of the European Commission, while eurosceptics fear the move will further undermine the EU nation states.

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

Mandated under the EU's Lisbon Treaty to take a fresh look at parliament's composition, MEPs in the constitutional affairs committee backed the Duff report on Tuesday (19 April) by 20 votes to four.

The proposed system, which would see EU citizens receive two ballot sheets during European elections - one for national candidates and one for EU-wide ones - now needs to win the majority support of MEPs during a full sitting of the house this June, as well as the backing of national governments.

"The proposals ... if passed ... will transform the elections to the European Parliament. They will create a European dimension to the campaign that has never been there before," Duff told journalists after the committee meeting.

"They will personalise the election campaign because there will be characters that will be up for trans-national support," he added.

The EU-wide list would have to feature candidates from at least one third of EU member states, with a new mathematical formula on how to distribute MEPs yet to be determined.

"Above all, it will force these European political parties that we have had for years ... to become full-scale campaigning organisations, competing with ideologies and policies," Duff said.

"It's an important step forward for post-national democracy."

This last point is exactly what some politicians fear, seeing the pan-European initiative as a further undermining of the nation state in favour of an 'ever greater union', with the four MEPs voting against the report all from Britain, according to Duff.

The island nation has traditionally been seen as a more reluctant member of the EU.

"I am confident that the British government would veto this proposal if it ever came to the European Council," Conservative UK MEP Ashley Fox said in a statement. "I cannot remember a single person on the doorstep who has told me they would ever support such a move."

Elect Barroso's successor?

With several of the report's proposals requiring an EU Treaty change, an intergovernmental conference and ratification in each EU member state, Duff conceded that it would be a tough challenge to have the plans adopted.

But with critics frequently complaining about a lack of democratic accountability in the EU, the Liberal MEP believes the plan could also enable EU citizens to have a greater say over the next president of the European Commission, rather than the current behind-the-scenes negotiation that saw Jose Manuel Barroso and his predecessors secure the post.

The proposal is not specifically mentioned in Tuesday's report, but Duff believes European political parties would be willing to identify one person on the EU-wide MEP list as their preferred choice for the top commission post.

The highest placed MEP on the EU-wide list, who also enjoyed party support, would take the commission job in 2014, with members of the constitutional affairs committee also calling for a better alignment between parliamentary and commission terms.

"It all sharpens the politics of the [European] election campaign," said Duff.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

Analysis

Relief in EPP group, as Orbán's party finally leaves

The debate over Fidesz had become an unbearable political burden on EPP - but it also represented a core dilemma for many centre-right, mainstream parties struggling to deal with their populist challengers.

EPP group moves forward to suspend Orban's Fidesz

MEPs are scheduled to vote on Wednesday to change the rules of procedure of the centre-right European People's Party parliamentary group to allow the suspension of a member party.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

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 aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us