Tag Archives: European elections

Post-elections EU Summit foreseen end May

European leaders will highly likely meet in an extraordinary summit on 28 May after the elections of the member states’ representatives in the European Parliament, according to the diplomatic source in Brussels. (Image above: archive).

This summit, like the extraordinary European Council that followed the 2014 European elections, will allow them to discuss the future European Commission and the identity of Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor as president.

Mogherini concerned with disinformation

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini (pictured) stepped forward with the declaration on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2019. In the declaration a considerable attention has been devoted to the the problem of “disinformation”, especially in the context of the upcoming European elections.

“On World Press Freedom Day we celebrate the essential role of a free press not only as a conveyer of reliable and accurate news, but as a pillar of democracy. The quality of democratic processes is linked to the state of freedom of expression as well as media freedom and pluralism. There is no democracy without a truly free press.

“While bearing the great responsibility to guarantee checked and correct news to the public, free, diverse and independent media are at the very same basis of a pluralistic and open society. Investigative journalism fulfills a necessary watchdog role that assists the public in holding governments and institutions, at all level, accountable for their actions and obligations. However, we see more and more attempts to curb the space for free media, also by systematically undermining their credibility, and too many journalists have lost their lives or have put their lives at risk for having exposed inconvenient truths.

“This year’s 26th worldwide commemoration addresses the current challenges faced by the media in elections in times of disinformation, as well as the media’s potential to support democracy, peace and reconciliation. Disinformation has a high potential to negatively influence democratic processes and public debates all over the world, and the European Union makes no exception.

“This is why we have launched the ‘EU Action Plan against Disinformation’, that steps up the European response to strengthen the resilience of our societies against disinformation. The Plan focuses on improving detection of disinformation, coordinating and joining up actions by the Union and Member States, mobilising the private sector to deliver on its commitments, raising public awareness and empowering citizens. Healthy democracy relies on open, free and fair public debate and it is our duty to protect this space and not allow anybody to spread disinformation that fuels hatred, division, and mistrust in democracy.

“The EU is promoting free and fair media not only at home but also globally in our relations with third countries, including by providing funding for targeted projects that enhance quality journalism, press freedom and access to public information.  With free journalism under increasing pressure, the EU reaffirms its determination to defend press and media freedom within its borders and worldwide.”

Loiseau extreme right activism “episode”

The head of the list of the President of France Emmanuel Macron party (LaRem) to the European elections, Nathalie Loiseau, became a target of the opposition criticism on April 23 after revelations that she engaged in her youth along with extreme right-wing activists.

The former Minister of European Affairs would have appeared in 1984, the time of an election, while she was a student at Sciences-Po Paris, under the label of UED from the Union Defense Group (GUD ), advocating the union of rights, revealed on April 22 the news site Mediapart.

Among the other seven candidates on the list was Christophe Bay, a senior official who reportedly contributed to the Marine Le Pen party (RN) candidate’s program in 2017, says Mediapart.

The candidate for the European elections, which stands against Marine Le Pen, leader of the RN, first denied the facts before replying that she had “completely forgotten this episode“.

Before the revelation of the Mediapart, Loiseau was leading in the polls along with the Socialist Benoit Hamon as favorties for the European elections.

 

Lega challenges EU

Nationalist, Eurosceptic parties plan to join forces following next month’s European Union parliamentary elections (#EUElections2019),  attempting to create a new alliance to challenge the EU traditional politicize mindset.

The move shows growing confidence among  sovereignist parties that for the first time since the EU was formed 60 years ago they can win enough seats in European parliament to put forward their agenda.

We want to reform the European Union and the European parliament, without destroying them. We want to bring radical change,” said Joerg Meuthen, the chairman of the eurosceptic Alternative for Germany party (AfD).

Mr.Meuthen said to reporters the EU parliamentary bloc would be called the European Alliance for People and Nations. It will initially involve at least 10 parties drawn from the three groups that currently house various nationalist forces.

The event was organized by Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the right-wing League.

We can propose a new Europe because we have never governed (in Brussels),” Salvini said. “Our goal is to be decisive, to nominate new commissioners in the new commission,” he added, referring to the powerful institution that shapes EU policy-making.

However, it was not immediately clear if two of Europe’s biggest national conservative forces — Poland’s governing Law and Justice party (PiS) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party — would be interested to join the group.

EU: women in politics striving for equality

Exactly one hundred years after women won the vote or were first elected to parliament in some EU countries, the data show that women continue to be under-represented in politics and public life, in the European Parliament, national parliaments and governments, and local assemblies.

Virginija Langbakkdirector of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shares her view on major obstacle for women to reach equality with men in politics.

The arguments for gender balance in politics are numerous, and benefit not only women and female politicians, but also parties themselves and the rest of society. After all, women form half the population and need to be better represented in power structures. However, there is now solid evidence both of obstacles and of the strategies that are effective when it comes to increasing women’s participation and representation.

The political parties and the media can be both barriers and important enablers. The EU has committed to achieving a gender balance in political representation and participation as a matter of justice, equality and democracy. Concrete recommendations have been made for achieving this goal, including specific action that could be taken by the EU institutions, national governments, political parties, civil society and the media. In the run-up to the European elections in May 2019, new mandates in the Commission and European Council, and the end of the EU’s current strategy for gender equality, there is a particular focus on how a better gender balance (at least 40 %) or gender parity (50 %), could be achieved in the next Parliament and for other high-level posts in the EU institutions, and how the EU and its Member States can move towards true parity democracy.

The EP press service has organised a seminar for journalists at the occasion of the 2019 International Women’s Day on “Women’s power in politics”, with a particular focus on the upcoming European Elections.

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MP laments EU “toxic for Italy”

Lega economy wizard Claudio Borghi said that Italy should consider leaving the European Union if the bloc does not change radically following European elections. in May.

I think that this is the last chance. If, after the European elections, the same mandarins led by Germany are the ones driving the economic, social and migratory policies, for the sole benefit of Germany and to our detriment, I’ll say we should leave,” Borghi said.

We either manage to change it or we’ll have to come out“. The Lega MP said the EU project was a “failure” and “toxic for Italy”. “If the environment remains toxic, I’ll say let’s get out, Borghi warned.

We have no intention of leaving Europe, we want to change it, improve it, but not abandon it,Salvini said in a texted statement, clarifying his position.

 

 

EPP Weber aims for EU agenda of change

Manfred Weber (Germany, EPP) backed by 79% of his party members, launches his campaign across the continent for a position of the president of the European Commission, the powerful executive branch of the European Union, the guardian of the treaties, also possessing powers to  propose laws and policies on its own initiative. Although there is no election for this particular position, but an appointment behind the closed doors of the Council, there is an obvious need to introduce Brussels politician to the broader European audiences.

Starting his European tour in Cyprus, the stronghold of the European People‘s party, Weber (46) promises to re-connect the European project with the citizens through attentive listening to them, and crystallizing broader frame programme for the five-year period mandate ahead of his appointment.

Representing young generation of the European politicians, Weber claims that the EU project’s success depends on clarity of the messages, which should replace the general slogans, filling them with the “concrete substance”, including taking a definite stand on existential for the EU27 issues as Turkey‘s accession. He also wishes similar clearly-shaped approach to the trade agreements: CETA, EU-Japan, and the others, which were in the lime-light of an intense public debate.

However it is the “democratisation” of Europe that is at heart of the project, Weber claims, eager to make key promises to Europeans while assuming the job, a gesture needed to restore the link between the citizens and the institutions. One of the mistakes of the past, Weber presumes, was insufficient investment in European youth, the deficiency he would address.

Although Weber underlined that he only started his campaign, he reiterated his loyalty to basic EPP framework, believing in Trans-Atlantic relations as one of the core policy for the EU security, especially now, when “it became cold outside Europe“. Nevertheless he criticized the European foreign policy lacking of ambition, letting the the others like US, Russia, or Turkey to take lead. “There should be more Europe in external affairs and defence, and the intentions should be lined with concrete initiatives, which are lacking nowadays”, – he said referring to the declarations of Macron-Merkel to organise the EU army, complementing NATO. Some of the projects could be delivered without delay, Weber assumes, pointing at cyber-defence, and drone brigade, – both costly high-tech projects, difficult to implement for small EU member-states. However he had no immediate answer to the decision-making mechanism in such a unit, suggesting it can be resolved in due time. The other matter to be reformed is unanimity in decision-making process in foreign policy and defence, shifting to qualified majority voting.

Weber underlined his sees his major political partners in Socialists, and Liberals, brushing off the perspective of co-operation with the European far-right: “I don’t want to listen Le Pen“, he said frankly. He also has cast doubt in success of new Liberal Macron-Rutte alliance, who have not so many issues in common.

However, as a contemporary politician Weber believes the technocratic position only is not good enough for the leader of the European Commission, offering an emotional pledge to defeat cancer. There should be a sufficient European funding to find a remedy, Weber believes, referring to his personal experience of losing his brother to cancer.

The initiative to launch a campaign across Europe for the position of the president of the European Commission is certainly innovative, however it might be also related to low profile of Manfred Weber, known as a leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament, who has punched above his weight being a Bavarian politician, without any relevant national or international experience.

The incumbent President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is the longest-serving head of any national government in the EU, he led Luxembourg as Prime minister (1995-2013), and chaired Eurogroup for eight years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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