What’s going on in the European Parliament this week?

European FlagDebates between the political parties in the European Parliament to form the all-important political groups, on which depends importance Committee places and speaking rights, continue in Brussels this week.

The Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group, in which the UK’s Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder sits, is continuing negotiations with liberal-minded parties either newly elected to the European Parliament or no longer content with their existing groups.

It is now unlikely that ALDE will remain the third largest group in Strasbourg-based Parliament as the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, now led by London Tory MEP Syed Kamall, has expanded its numbers via the admittance of the controversial Danish People’s Party and the Finns Party. They also last week voted to admit the Alternative for Germany Party, against the wishes of David Cameron, and no doubt much to the annoyance of Angela Merkel, hardly helping the Prime Minister’s chances of getting his way as regards the Presidency of the European Commission.

Time is now fast running out for the political groups to form and Nigel Farage is struggling to meet the 7-Member State requirement for his Europe of Freedom & Democracy Group (to qualify as a political group in the European Parliament you must have at least 25 MEPs drawn from at least 7 Member States). This is after the French National Front’s Marine Le Pen took several Europe of Freedom & Democracy members for her new group, European Alliance for Freedom.

The Parliament will formally meet in Strasbourg for its first plenary session of the new parliamentary term from 14th-17th July, during which it was expected that it would vote on the European Council’s nomination for the Presidency of the Commission. However, with leading members of the European Council (including both the UK’s Prime Minister and Germany’s Chancellor) talking up setting an agenda for EU reform at the Council Summit on 26th-27th June, rather than focusing on individuals (i.e. individual nominees to the Commission Presidency) there may now be some possibility that the EP will not yet have a nomination from the Council on which to vote.

Without a doubt, the current furore over whether the Presidential candidate of the European People’s Party, former Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker, should be nominated by the Council to be voted on by the Parliament is the single greatest power struggle between the Member State Governments and the directly-elected European Parliament in recent memory. As with so many other issues at EU-level, the key to its resolution will be what Angela Merkel decides to do and how she justifies it, as she is currently facing enormous pressure in Germany to secure the nomination of her own party’s candidate, i.e. Mr Juncker.

* Matt McLaren is an elected member of the English Party Executive and the English Party’s representative on the Federal Conference Committee. In London Region, he is Vice-Chair of Enfield Liberal Democrats, a member of its Local Parties Committee and one of its elected representatives on the English Council. Matt is also currently a Liberal Democrat candidate for Enfield Council, standing in his home ward of Winchmore Hill.

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  • Reading this and many other articles Europe is not Democratic it dances to Angela Merkel Tune an Germanys Needs. Another reason to LEAVE is it Not?

  • Does the trade descriptions act apply to these names?!

  • Somewhat irrelevant to this party now. 1 MEP!!!.
    Latest ICM poll, the one that is usually best for the Lib Dems, quote from the political betting website: –

    “For the Lib Dems, for the pollster which generally has the best and most accurate figures for them, they are back on 10%, which Guardian notes ”is the joint lowest ever captured by ICM, the previous low coming in February this year.”

    Lord Ashscroft will be publishing his polling in the Lib Dem/Con marginals at 11am on Thursday, if they are equally grim for the Lib Dems, then coupled with this polling, then Nick Clegg’s position may become untenable very shortly. Will Lib Dem MPs remove their leader? Nothing quite focuses the mind than the possibility that you might lose your job soon”.

    Not heard the word untenable mentioned before, perhaps we had all better watch this space on Thursday.

  • jedibeeftrix 17th Jun '14 - 8:46pm

    looks like alde may end up the third biggest group after all:

  • Richard Dean 17th Jun '14 - 10:06pm

    It’s definitely helpful to have this information. I hope it becomes a weekly feature. Is it possible to present the information in a more easily digestible form? I have trouble with long sentences, and so do many people I know.

  • Harry Hayfield 17th Jun '14 - 10:51pm

    I realise that the European Parliament is not the same as a national parliament, but what happens if the EU commission nominate one person to be president and the EU Parliament is in favour of another person (i.e gridlock)? Can the Parliament be dissolved and fresh elections held?

  • Peter Watson 17th Jun '14 - 11:56pm
  • Gareth Hartwell 18th Jun '14 - 10:44am

    We could do ourselves a lot of favours by being much clearer that the Lib Dems think that Juncker is not an acceptable candidate because he is not sufficiently reform-minded. Why are we letting Cameron lead on this point?

  • I agree with Richard Dean —
    Richard Dean 17th Jun ’14 – 10:06pm
    It’s definitely helpful to have this information. I hope it becomes a weekly feature.

    Thank you for his report, Matt McClaren.

  • I agree with Richard et al that this article is helpful

    On the subject of the appointment of a new president. Having listened to the arguments on Radio 4 this morning, I come to the conclusion that both options being discussed (Commission appointee and Parliament appointee) for the post of president are undemocratic. I’m happy for both groups to put forward candidates, but it should be the electorate who get to decide who finally gets appointed.

  • jedibeeftrix 19th Jun '14 - 1:10pm

    Oops, perhaps not:


    Read this. Read every single word. Understand why nva went elsewhere. Weep at guy’s desperation. Understand!

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