29 January 2019
Unprecedented new rules granting MEPs the right to dissolve other political factions in the European Parliament are set to be voted on this week in Brussels.
Amendments tabled to parliament’s rules of procedure by the EPP, S&D and ALDE Groups would allow Parliament’s powerful Conference of Presidents to recommend dissolving a Political Group if they believe it does not contain MEPs who share ‘political affinity’. If they take a decision to dissolve a group based on its members not sharing political affinity, it would pass for ratification by the whole European Parliament.
Under the current rules only MEPs themselves can determine their own political affinity. However if adopted, the new rules would allow established Groups to determine the political affinity of MEPs. This opens the possibility that the rules will be used by some MEPs under spurious and political grounds to weaken their opponents via. the Parliament’s own rules of procedure to exclude them from certain functions only available to members of political groups.
ECR Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, speaking ahead of the vote which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, said:
“We need to get over this whole ‘EU knows best’ approach – voters put us where we are, not the other way round. It shouldn’t be up to MEPs to decide who can and who can’t take part in the parliament’s work. The term ‘political affinity’ is clearly open to interpretation and will certainly be exploited for political purposes.
“I would say I am pro-European but that doesn’t make me Guy Verhofstadt. I would also say I believe Member States should have more control over how the EU works, but that doesn’t make me a nationalist like Le Pen. I am more than capable of finding people and parties that I’m happy to sit alongside – I don’t need a select group of MEPs to decide if I have affinity with them or not.
“The most worrying thing is that these establishment figures just don’t see why it’s wrong and only seem to believe in democracy when it works for them.”
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