What price democracy in the EP?
So blatant as to be beyond satire is the stitch up that is about to proceed in the European Parliament.
Think for a moment, put yourselves in federalistic shoes for a second. Only for a few short moments, you will survive.
You taken a bit of a hit in the European Parliamentary elections and the people are restive. The Parliamentary arithmetic is still pretty sold, but cracks in your comfortable edifice have appeared.
‘Yes’ you can comfort yourself, “EPP parties came first across the EU, and the Socialist Group parties came second, but those Liberals in ALDE took a bit of a beating, the ECR group is now the third largest group, and those stinkers in the EFD – you know UKIP and their mates managed to cobble together a group too, not to mention those French types in the Non attached”.
Whilst the enemy are not in control of the citadel, they are certainly at the gates and they look to be in a position to cause some trouble in the future and under the traditions and rules of the Parliament look likely to infiltrate.
So what to do?
Bingo, got it. Let’s set aside our political differences and ensure that the new Parliament is not political in the old sense, left/right/centre, that sort of stuff, but clearly and explicitly centralizing vs decentralizing. Good pro-European integration chaps and chappeses versus, unwashed, ignorant and frankly unclubbable, Eurosceptical or even reformist hoodlums who frankly shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the drinks cabinet.
“The agreement of 24 June between the EPP and S&D groups, relating to ongoing discussions on key EP positions, will now be extended to the ALDE Group, ensuring a broader base for building a stable majority for the next European Commission. The EPP, S&D and ALDE groups in the European Parliament agree to work to create a stable, pro-European majority in the House to defend the values and principles of European integration…”
The best thing about this deal is it means that we can stitch up the Parliament posts – all for stability, mind you.
The thing is there are three key Committees in the European Parliament, The Bureau of the Parliament, the Conference of Presidents (CoP) and the magnificently named Conference of Committee Chairmen (CCC). Now we cannot stop them getting a slot on the CoP, but maybe we can deal with the other two. And here is how.
The allocations for the 22 Committee Chairmanships in the Parliament are decided by the infamous d’Hondt method and quelle horreur look see there is an EFD member in the most junior of Committees, but that gets them a slot on the CCC.
Ah but we are cleverer than that, now we have this deal between the main federalist groups, we can use simple majority voting during the ratification process and use our majority to block that. We think, as compensation for being wiped out in the UK, the Liberal Group should get that EFD Chairmanship. Seems only fair. What is more we tried this last time and got away with it when we blocked the appointment of Marta Andreasen from the Vice-Chairmanship of the Budgetary Control Committee.
Then there is the Bureau. Little bit more complicated. The tradition is that the 14 Vice Presidents of Parliament are elected unopposed to sit on the Bureau and are decided amicably by the Groups. And yes, that should mean that the EFD get a Vice-President. But given the Bureau is where all the financial decisions of the Parliament are made, and it.. well… it wouldn’t be stable now would it if some hairy great ‘Kipper were to get one of those.
But that’s OK, we do have some precedence for stitching this up as well. Back in 2009, the Tory group proposed Michael Kaminski, one of their Poles to the role. Edward MacMillan-Scot didn’t like the cut of his jib, and forced a contested election. With his impeccable pro-European credentials he won the vote in Parliament and got himself thrown out of the Tories for good measure.
So with our new deal, we can use it to ensure responsibility, stability and utter rejection of the democratic decisions of the peoples of Europe.