Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Democracy in the European Parliament

It is, it must be said, a great shame when the one democratic part of the [tag]European Union[/tag] starts trying to act undemocratically.

No matter what your opinion of the newly-formed group [tag]Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty[/tag] – made up of assorted far-right types including French National Front leader Jean Marie Le Pen, Il Duce’s granddaughter Alessandra Mussolini, Belgian anti-immigration party Vlaams Belang and the charmingly named Bulgarian National Union Attack – the 20 MEPs that make up the new alliance have, nonetheless, all been democratically elected.

As such, moves by the Socialist group (apparently to be joined by the conservative EPP) to prevent the new group forming – and certainly to block any of its members attaining positions of higher responsibility within the [tag]European Parliament[/tag]’s various governing bodies and committees – are surely not to be supported.

Thankfully, outgoing European Parliament president [tag]Josep Borrell[/tag] – himself a Socialist group member – has done the right thing as one of his last acts before handing over to his successor:

“the challenge was rejected by the assembly’s outgoing president, Josep Borrell, when he officially announced the new group.

“Borrell pointed out that that each of its 20 members had signed up to a political declaration that they would ‘defend Christian and family values.’

“‘That, I feel, bears witness to the political affiliation of the group,’ he told the chamber on his last day in office before stepping down at the end of his term. ‘I believe the group should be able to continue.'”

Let’s just hope that new EP president [tag]Hans-Gert Pöttering[/tag] (a member of the EPP) follows Borrell’s lead, and refuses to allow MEPs to discredit what little claim to democratic accountability the EU has.

There are other, more subtle, and better ways of undermining them than calling for them to be banned – for calling for bans merely gives them more publicity, and even has the potential to provide political martyrs, uniting their supporters ever further though feelings of persecution. As modern [tag]fascists[/tag], unlike their early 20th century forefathers, seem to have little aptitude or competency for political office (as demonstrated by the UK’s own British National Party’s local councillors’ performances), better to let them get on with making a hash of it and discrediting themselves. Then you have a far more powerful electoral weapon – demonstrating them to be incompetent. Merely attacking them, however, has been proved time and again to give them an electoral boost.

Yes, having fascists in positions of authority is unpleasant. Yes, it is understandable why, in a continent which has experienced more than its fair share of damage at the hands of fascism, people may not like to see fascists in the European Parliament.

But such is the price of [tag]democracy[/tag] – to try to ban people with such views from standing for office, and certainly to prevent them from acting having received a democratic mandate from the electorate, is to undermine the validity of democracy itself.

10 Comments

  1. I dont think much will need to be done to undermine this group. I am looking forward to the insane vile venom and bile that shall be sprewing forth from this group…until they turn in on themselves.

    A group in the European Parliment made up of MEPs whose main platform is nationalism and xenophobia….it can't last.

  2. Too right – I particularly like the way that "National Union Attack" appears to be Bulgaria's answer to Kilroy's (now seemingly defunct) Veritas – a right-wing vanity party set up by a former TV talkshow host. They should provide a good amount of blog fodder…

  3. Vlaams Belang is a Belgian party, not Dutch. The words "Vlaams Belang" mean "Flemish Interest". The Dutch language is spoken in this part of Belgium.

  4. B29 – whoops… Ta. Got all confused there. Hope I haven't overly offended any Flemish nationalists who may be reading… Edited now.

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  6. Let'em have their group (and the juicy, juicy pork that goes with it – offices, staff funding and such). But I see nothing wrong with not letting them have any committee chairmanships. After all, posts like that are *elected*. If you argue they have a right to them in the interest of democracy, it follows that other people have an obligation to vote for the buggers. And that's silly.

    If nobody wants to vote for you, you lose – can't say fairer than that.

  7. Alex – precisely what I mean. The European Parliament now has 785 MEPs. Of which these far-right nutters make up a tiny, tiny percentage. It's the MEPs who elect people to positions of authority, so gernerally speaking it's going to be people from the larger groupings who get elected.

    The additional cash they get on becoming a group is a small price to pay to deprive them of being able to claim persecution, I'd say.

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