Graham Watson running to be President of the European Parliament

Graham Watson, one of the South West’s Euro-MPs, has written on Comment is Free:

Everybody wants to get a first in something: a race, a university degree, a newspaper scoop. This week I launched my campaign for president of the European parliament knowing that I am not the first British candidate, but I am the first – of any nationality – to run a public campaign, and that is already something to be just a little bit proud of.

The chattering classes love to have a pop at the behind-closed-doors culture that we are told thrives in Brussels. Europe’s reputation for secrecy is more than a little talked-up but, in the case of the parliament’s presidency, it’s sadly accurate. The standard operating procedure involves a backroom deal between the EPP Group, of which the British Tories are still – for the moment – members, and the Socialist Group, which includes the UK’s Labour MEPs. Left and right carve up the job into two halves, with a member from each group serving as president for two and a half years of the five-year parliamentary term…

In the absence of a proper campaign, the role and priorities of the president are never publicly discussed and his or her ability to achieve real results is simply overlooked. By declaring my candidacy now I hope to draw out the other candidates, flush out the issues, and let people conclude for themselves what kind of president each candidate would make. This job should be decided on the basis of merit, not cosy convenience.

You can read the full piece here.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International.

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