Tag Archives: European Parliament

Von der Leyen endorsed by MEPs as Commission president

Today MEPs voted on the candidate for the president of the European CommissionUrsula von der Leyen, put forward by the European Council.  Her candidacy was endorsed with with 383 votes in favour.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was nominated for the post by the European Council, after “leading candidate” Manfred Weber was rejected by a number of member-states. The European People’s Party insisted the top job should belong to one of their political family, because they came out with the best result after the European elections in May this year.

 

In Strasboug Plenary Von der Leyen presented her programme and responded to questions of MEPs.

In order to become Commission President, von der Leyen  had to secure the support of an absolute majority of MEPs (at least 374 votes). The vote was a secret paper ballot.

 

In case she failed to win a majority, the European Council would have to put forward another candidate.

AMENDED: In her speech this morning  Ursula von der Leyen outlined her priorities as Commission President. 

Having identified the collective need for “a healthy planet as our greatest challenge and responsibility”, Ms von der Leyen proposed bolder emissions targets, with a reduction of 50% to 55% by 2030 and committed to submit a plan for a “Green Deal for Europe” and a European Climate Law within her first 100 days in office. She also announced plans for sustainable European investment (also through the partial conversion of EIB funds into a “climate bank”) to provide €1 trillion in investments within a decade.

Von der Leyen also stressed that the EU must establish an economy that serves the people. In order for this to happen however, “everyone needs to share the burden” – including those tech giants that conduct their business (and should continue to do so) in Europe, yet do not repay the people of Europe for their access to EU human and social capital.

Reiterating her commitment for a gender-balanced College of Commissioners during her term, she also highlighted that violence against women has to be tackled decisively; she would therefore seek to define violence against women as a crime in the European treaties, in parallel to completing the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention.

Von der Leyen declared her commitment to rule of law as a European value, announcing that she intends to establish an EU-wide monitoring mechanism in parallel to existing measures. She emphasised that these European values also include a duty to save lives at sea and should translate into a humane border policy. She stated her support for a “new pact on migration & asylum” and Dublin Regulation reform, adding that she intends to ensure that Frontex border guards number 10,000 not by 2027, but by 2024, and that all countries should shoulder their fair share of the burden based on the principle of European solidarity.

On the matter of European democracy, von der Leyen announced a two-year Conference for Europe as of 2020, in which citizens will take a leading and active role. She also emphasised the need for the Spitzenkandidaten system to be strengthened and that transnational lists should be reconsidered in future European elections. She also declared her full support for a right of initiative for the European Parliament, committing to put forward a legislative proposal in response to every resolution that is passed with a majority of Parliament’s constituent members.

Von der Leyen debates with MEPs

On July 10 Ursula von der Leyen, the ultimate candidate for the European Commission presidency, had an exchange of views with MEPs in the European Parliament Brussels, a crucial test before the vote in Strasbourg Plenary next week.

To succeed Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1, this close associate of Chancellor Angela Merkel, a member of the  conservatives party CDU, must convince the MEPs she is right candidate to become Prime minister of Europe replacing her unfortunate predecessor leading candidate of European Peoples party EPP Manfred Weber.

Von der Leyen must obtain an absolute majority in Parliament, winning 374 votes (given the absence of three elected Catalan). However, outcome is uncertain as the EU leaders appointed it on 2 July at a three-day crisis European summit, a surprise candidates presented instead of politicians put forward by parties. However rejection of her candidacy will create a protracted political crisis, unlikely scenario to be chosen by MEPs as an option in a power wrestling between EU institutions.

After the hearing the candidate made a statement for press vowing to answer the citizens needs with more Europe in providing jobs, perspective, stability and security. She also promised to insure minimum salary in every member-state, support of SME in transition period for Climate Action, putting the issue on the top of her priorities. Last but not least was the international engagement of the EU across globe, which she presumed world expects from EU.

Tusk confronted with MEPs criticism

The EU Council president Donald Tusk has been confronted with a wave of MEPs criticism over top jobs nominations procedures, replacing previously agreed leading candidate logic of appointment. In Plenary debate on July 4, opening  the IX legislature exchange of views, assessing the results of the European Council crisis summit held from June 30 to July 2 in Brussels, to assign the EU leading jobs.

The leaders of majority of the political groups expressed strong criticism of the European Council’s actions and decisions over the last few days. They demonstrated  concern with rejection of the Spitzenkandidaten process and obscurity in which the heads of states and governments were deciding the candidacies of the next President of the European Commission, European Council, European Central Bank, and European External Action Service.

They also pointed at lack of representation of Eastern European countries.

Donald Tusk declined to enter the debate with MEP, and was listening to their comments.

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Brexit party MEP Ann Widdecombe (71) compared the UK’s departure from the EU to the emancipation of slaves, while taking floor as the first Brexit party Member to address in the new European parliament.

With her leader, Nigel Farage, on her right, Widdecombe said the recent negotiations among the EU’s heads of state and government kept in secrecy confirmed the need for Britain to leave.

It’s not democratic at all and that is just one of many reasons why Britain is right to be leaving this place, hopefully on Halloween,” Widdecombe concluded, addressing her fellow MEPS of the European parliament in Strasbourg. “If that’s this place’s idea of democracy that’s a serious betrayal of every country represented here.

Catalan MEPs banned from Europarl seats

EU Catalan electorate organised demonstration at doorstep of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on July 2 – the first day of the sitting of a new legislature. They have been protesting against ban of three of their elected MEPs to access their offices. Oriol Junqueras,  imprisoned in Spain, Charles Puigdemont and Antoni Comin, stay in exile in Belgium.

Carles Puigdemont was expected among the demonstrators but his lawyer Gonzalo Boye convinced him to avoid travelling in France, fearing his arrest.

According to local police, around 10,000 demonstrators participated. They came by bus, cars and even two chartered flights.

Spanish MEPs from parties like the Ciudadanos insist that fugitive suspects do not have the right to sit in the European Parliament, representing electorate.

On Monday, the European Court of Justice agreed with this opinion.

Europarl delays president election

The European Parliament (EP) election of president is postponed due to EU leaders third day crisis Summit Brussels, which have failed to produce the list of the EU institutions top jobs nominees on Sunday (June 30).

The conference of presidents of the EP political groups agreed to extend deadline to 22H00 July 2 to nominate candidates for the speaker.

In spite of the fact that European parliament is only elected institution, and the European elections were announced as the second most numerous democratic exercise across globe, the Europarl relinquished its powers to elect President independently, and agreed to align its choice with the decision of the European Council, nominating candidates for EU top jobs, including most influential president of the European Commission, de facto Prime Minister of Europe, and guardian of the EU Treaty.

In protest Brexit Party MEPs turned their backs to former President Tajani during the European anthem chanting  at the opening session of the EU Parliament today.

AMENDED:

 

Loiseau self-destructive sarcasm

President Emmanuel Macron’s  candidate to lead a new centrist alliance in the European Parliament Nathalie Loiseau said on she was pulling out of the race, in a defiance to French government influence in the parliamenEt.

Nathalie Loiseau was quoted by Belgian newspapers disparaging allies in Renew Europe, formed by Macron’s party and the liberal ALDE, and adding she intends a sweeping overhaul of the group, the third biggest in the European Parliament.

Loiseau was quoted in Le Soir calling ALDE’s longtime leader Guy Verhofstadtan old git with pent-up frustrations” and branding the conservative European People’s party candidate for Commission president an “ectoplasm”.

Loiseau described the comments, made during an off-record briefing to journalists in Brussels, as “pure fiction” but their leak damaged her credibility just as competition for the leadership intensified. And according to her own words she preferred to renounce her ambition to lead the group.

 

 

Euorparl: Brexit party doesn’t join ENF

Far-right parties’ intentions to create a powerful Eurosceptic bloc in the European Parliament (pciutred) failed when Poland’s ruling nationalists Law and Justice party – and the UK Brexit Party both announced they would not join such a congregation.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s conservative ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), ruled out joining a political group along with Italiy’s Lega Salvini, France’s National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which won 29 of Britain’s 72 seats in the European Parliament, also said it would not join Marine Le Pens Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group. Britain is due to quit the EU on October 31 but the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will start their work from  July onward, and stay until Brexit takes place.

 

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