In the final plenary session of 2016, the European Parliament furtively amended its Rules of Procedure to give its President sweeping powers to censor so-called “hate speech” by Members in the Chamber. Outgoing President Martin Schulz had the draconian measure drafted by fellow-socialist MEP Richard Corbett with virtually no consultation of backbench MEPs. Continue reading
The new centre-right coalition ruling the European Parliament since the start of 2017 is seeking to block US President Donald Trump’s expected nomination as US Ambassador to the EU, economist and author Ted Malloch, claiming that it is unacceptable to accredit an ambassador to the EU that has openly declared he wants to destroy the Union. Continue reading
Members and staff of the European Parliament breathed a collective sigh of relief to see Martin Schulz finally booted out of the assembly’s presidency. Under his successor, Antonio Tajani, they expect to breathe the air of freedom. Continue reading
The so-called Grand Coalition between the European People’s Party and the Socialists in the European Parliament was well and truly killed this morning. In its place is emerging a new centre-right coalition of EPP and Liberals (ALDE). Continue reading
Now that Martin Schulz is at last gone, the battle for his succession is in full heat. No wonder: the German bulldozer has managed to transform the role of the President of the EP from one in which the incumbent is to ensure that all debates and procedures take place in an orderly and serene way and everyone is treated fairly into one where the President is assuming disproportionate powers, as if he were some kind of head of government. As President, Schulz used all the means that were at his disposal to aggrandize himself, distributing jobs, functions and budgets to his cronies and allies, and limiting the speaking time and access to resources of those who were out of his favour. Given that the Parliament in theory consists of 750 equals, the power he accumulated was quite extraordinary. It is unsurprising that the job that he has re-shaped in this way is now coveted by other politicians of his ilk, such as Continue reading
The competition to replace Martin Schulz as President of the European Parliament is heating up. Brussels-based media outlet Politico will host a six-way debate between the European Parliament’s presidential candidates this Wednesday 11 January at 18.00 CET. It can be watched via live stream on politico.eu and followed on Twitter using #EPpresident. Continue reading
According to a report in this week’s edition of POLITICO, the “Liberal” group in the European Parliament, ALDE, are now plotting to get their leader, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, elected as the new President of the European Parliament, following Martin Schulz’s failure to secure a third mandate.
Verhofstadt has been ALDE’s leader since 2009 and frontrunner under the controversial “Spitzenkandidat” system in the last EP elections in 2014, but apparently he was not very appealing to the electorate, with the number of ALDE MEPs dwindling from 100 (in 2004) to 85 (in 2009), and then further to 68 (in 2014). Continue reading