Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Help make MEPs more accountable

It is a constant and largely fair complaint that the EU is somewhat lacking in democratic accountability. Members of the European Parliament seem always to be ignored by the people they represent, and rarely – if ever – receive coverage in the local press to anything like the extent that our Westminster representatives do.

Not only do European elections always have shockingly low turnouts, but it is unusual even for those who vote in them to pay any attention to who won, or to who has ended up representing them in Brussels and Strasbourg. It is still more unusual for any regular member of the public to be able to say exactly what it is that an MEP’s job involves – all we ever hear about are the allegations of expense-fiddling and petty corruption, not what actually goes on within the EU’s corridors of power.

As such, this Early Day Motion, proposed by Labour MP Derek Wyatt (who scraped back in with a majority of just 79 on May 5th) deserves widespread support – whether you are pro- or anti-EU. After all, how is it possible to hold our representatives to account if we don’t know what it is they get up to?

Derek Wyatt
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That this House believes that, as Europe prepares to vote on the EU Constitution, MEPs in member countries should instead of repairing to Strasbourg once a month, return to their own national parliaments to report back on their work; further believes that this would give an opportunity for there to be a constructive debate between honourable Members and MEPs and would root the latter in both their national parliaments as well as the European Parliament.

As anyone who has worked at the House of Commons or who follows Westminster affairs will tell you, EDMs rarely, if ever, manage to achieve anything – they are there, at best, to make a point, and are effectively petitions to the government which Downing Street can ignore or not at its leisure. Nonetheless, this is one well worth supporting. If you want more accountability in Brussels, urge your MP to sign. You can contact your MP free of charge through