LibDem MEP retains influential European economic role

Darren Ennis on MHP reports good news for the UK from the European Parliament:

British Liberal Democrat Sharon Bowles is expected to keep her role as chair of the European Parliament’s influential economic and monetary affairs committee, MHP Sources Say.

Despite winning cross-party praise for her increasingly high profile role during the economic downturn, Bowles risked losing the coveted position following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU veto and the decision by her UK Liberal Democrat colleague Diana Wallis to stand in this week’s election of a new President of the European Parliament.

Wallis infuriated Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt by standing as an independent, putting at risk a political pact he had negotiated with the Parliament’s two largest groups – the centre-right EPP and the Socialists – designed to keep Bowles as head of the Parliament’s most important committee.

But Wallis’ poor showing – finishing last of three candidates – and the overwhelming majority achieved by newly-crowned President, German Socialist Martin Schulz, means that the pact remains intact.

“Schulz’s majority shows that most Liberals stuck to the deal and voted for him, so Sharon will keep her job,” a source close to Bowles said.

Bowles’ retention of the top post is good news for UK business who had feared Cameron’s staunch opposition to a new EU fiscal treaty and a European financial transaction tax, could leave Britain out in the cold and in particular out of the Brussels decision-making process.

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11 Comments

  • Simon McGrath 19th Jan '12 - 9:26pm

    Did Diana Wallis know this would put Sharon Bowles position as Chair of this very important committee for the UK at risk? If so she should be ashamed of herself.

  • Antony Hook 19th Jan '12 - 9:32pm

    This is really excellent news for the party and for the public.

  • Not sure we should be celebrating what appear to be anti democratic stitch ups in the EP

  • Redhead, the parties in parliament elect people the key position in Parliament. That is democratic. Parties agreeing to suppot each other’s candidates is prefereable to me raterh than parties being at each other’s throats and not working together,

  • David Pollard 19th Jan '12 - 10:24pm

    The question is – is Sharon Bowles going to do anything about getting the Eurozone countries to produce a plan to get them out of their current financial mess? If not what is the point of her job?

  • excellent news for the UK

  • @SMcG: So if the two large party groups had got Sharon Bowles from the removed out of spite because of Diana Wallis standing against their annointed candidate for the presidency, that would have been Diana’s fault? What are you saying? That the Lib Dems should NOT challenge deals made in smoke-filled rooms*; that we should be in favour of stitch-ups and against European Parliamentary democracy? It’s likely the reason Sharon was NOT removed is that the people involved in the stitch-up knew it would not look good, because we could attack the larger groups for it.

    * (as they could well be: I don’t think Belgium yet has an indoor smoking ban)

  • Alex Macfie 20th Jan '12 - 1:36pm

    Incidentally, there are 85 Liberal MEPs, and Diana received 141 votes in the EP Presidential election. So I don’t understand how one can infer that most Liberals “stuck to the deal” and voted for Schulz.

  • Antony Hook 20th Jan '12 - 4:35pm

    1. If yu want to know what Sharon does go to her website and subscribe to her updates. Or read the financial pages of the broadsheets.

    2. Secrective? You are reading about it on the internet.

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