Hosted by Vivant in the German-speaking Community of BelgiumSeptember 5th, 2016
Europeans United for Democracy gathered for its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday September 3rd in the Parliament of the German-speaking Community in Belgium. Michael Balter MP and Alain Mertens MP from VIVANT Ostbelgien hosted the weekend meeting in the German-speaking Community. In conjunction with the AGM, EUD delegates learned more about the Belgian system of power sharing and the competences of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community. During the weekend visit EUD delegates also spoke to local media, visited export enterprises in the region and learned about the unique border area’s history and traditions.
The entire EUD alliance would like to extend its warm thanks to the Vivant group in the Parliament of the German-speaking Community and the great people of the area that we met during our visit.…
Poll finds 4/5 Irish would like to keep existing travel & trade arrangements with the UK, object to possible EU isolation measuresJune 29th, 2016
A poll conducted by Red C on behalf of the EUD found that four in five Irish would like to keep existing Common Travel Area arrangements with the UK in place and support any UK efforts to keep the existing terms of trade between the UK and the EU. Furthermore four in five Irish polled would object to any possible isolation measures and support UK efforts where they are in Ireland’s interests.
Commenting on the results EUD President Patricia McKenna stated:
It is clear that Irish public opinion want the existing common travel area to be kept in place and would be against Ireland joining the EU Schengen Area. Furthermore, Irish people want their government to support the existing terms of trade between the EU and UK and would not favour measures to limit or restrict such trade. Notably, Irish people want their government to oppose any EU measures that would isolate the UK.
I would consider that the findings of this poll imply that the Irish government has an obligation to speak out against any abuse of power by EU leaders and EU institutions. As such, exclusionary inner core meetings, such as that of the six founding members which took place on Saturday, must be opposed in the interests of the rights of all existing EU member states.
The poll of 1004 Irish adults was conducted by Red C Research. Fieldwork 23rd – 26th May 2016.
Contact for more information: +32 2 503 05 14 firstname.lastname@example.org
Europeans United for Democracy gathers national parties, movements and parliamentarians across Europe that believe decisions must be made as close to the citizens as possible. Our members and allies are against further centralisation of power in Brussels and work for the devolution of power from the EU to national and regional parliaments.
EUD calls on the EU and national governments to respect the will of the peopleApril 19th, 2016
In Greece, Denmark and the Netherlands the public recently has rejected EU proposals and in the United Kingdom the campaign on remaining or leaving the EU has officially started today. The EUD stresses the importance of public consent for any settlement with the EU and welcomes the UK referendum.
While the leader of the Green group in the European Parliament Rebecca Harms reportedly stated that referendums could “endanger the existence of the EU”, the EUD welcomes every opportunity for citizens to have their say on EU issues. Efforts to limit referendums to non-EU issues only are based on fear of the will of the people and should be discontinued.
In the Netherlands a grassroots campaign had collected 427 000 signatures within six weeks forcing the Government to hold a consultative referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. By a wide margin of 61 to 31 percentage the public rejected the pro-EU position of the Government, while ignoring the fear-laden interventions of EU-elites.
The EUD calls on the governments in Greece, Denmark and the Netherlands to respect the will of their citizens and secure agreements with the EU in line with the will of the ultimate sovereign body, the citizenry.
The EUD firmly believes:
- That referendums enhance the democratic process by giving voters greater opportunities for involvement in and engagement with politics.
- That referendums are the purest form of democracy and serve an important public education and information function by actively engaging the voters and asking them to choose sides on a policy issue.
- That referendums serve as an important reminder to the political elite that they derive their ultimate democratic authority from the consent of the people.
- That referendums also give the citizenry a chance to reshape the political division of labour between citizens and legislators. At a time when public trust in elected representatives is plummeting, referendums can serve to increase public trust for political institutions.
Democracy wins despite establishment scare-campaign.December 4th, 2015
Europeans United for Democracy (EUD) welcomes the Danish No vote in the referendum December 3rd 2015.
When citizens are consulted on further EU integration they tend to say no. Again Democracy won in the face of an establishment scare-campaign seeking to erode national sovereignty and move power from the people to parliament and the EU. The Danish yes side had claimed there was no real alternative to voting yes and abolishing the 23 year old opt-out secured after the first Danish rejection of Maastricht, however, polling in the final weeks preceding the vote showed that Danes did not believe the yes-parties arguments, including that Danish cooperation with Europol would be threatened by a no vote. The clear outcome of the referendum could lead to Denmark negotiating a parallel agreement with Europol along the Norwegian model.
EUD Vice-President and leading Danish No-campaigner Lave K. Broch from the People’s Movement against the EU reacted to the outcome saying:
“A majority of Danes rejected a proposal to give the EU supranational powers in the area of justice and home affairs in Denmark. This was the best outcome for democracy. Now people will have more influence over the justice policy than in a situation where power over different justice questions would be handed over to the EU. We are the only nation in the EU that has such a referendum, other countries could learn from Denmark and allow citizens to decide if the EU should have supranational powers on justice policy.”
EUD President Patricia McKenna said:
“The Danish people in their wisdom have taken the correct approach and have rejected adopting the Irish and the British model, whereby both these countries have adopted an opt-in approach. This means that the governments in both these member states can opt-in to aspects of Justice and Home Affairs policy, that they do not already take part in, without recourse to the people. This approach which the Danish were being encouraged to adopt basically gives governments a blank check which they can cash at will without the approval of their peoples. It is deeply regrettable that in most EU member states all control over policy in this area has been handed over from national parliaments to supranational institutions where democratic control and accountability are virtually impossible. The Danish voters made the right choice as they have not ceded power on these matters to unaccountable institutions.”
The participation rate was 72% with 2.9 million ballots cast. The clear outcome and the people’s No must be respected.
Picture: Lave K. Broch from the People’s Movement against the EU delivering his victory speech.
Citizens' Initiative to hold referendum on EMU membership launchedJuly 17th, 2015
Europeans United for Democracy
Press release 17/7/2015
Poll finds clear majority of Finns reject 3rd Greek bail-out
While a Citizens’ Initiative to hold a referendum on the euro is gathering signatures rapidly, a survey conducted by Taloustutkimus on behalf of the EUD alliance, shows that 53% of Finns oppose a 3rd Greek bail-out. Only 28% of respondents believe that Finland should accept the continuation of the EU’s bail-out policy by agreeing to a 3rd Greek bail-out.
Most critical were supporters of The Finns party (88%), the Christian Democrats (71%) and the Prime Minister’s Centre party (57%). Clear pluralities in the Finance Minister’s party, the NCP (45%) and the Social Democrats (44%) also oppose the continuation of the bail-out policy in Greece.
The same poll found that 81% of respondents agreed that “EMU should allow for legal exits from the Euro area following a national political decision.”
Respondents overwhelmingly opposed “further transfers of powers to EU-institutions, like the establishment of a federal EU-finance ministry, in order to complete the EMU?” Only 22% supported further transfers of powers to EU-institutions while 62% rejected such developments.
The poll was conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy using a representative sample of 1006. The survey was conducted 15.–16.7.2015. Margin of error ±2,5%.
The EUD welcomes the debate initiated by Prime Minister David Cameron on the future development of the EU and the UK’s relation to it. The EUD stresses the importance of consulting the people as the EU has changed massively over the last two decades (in the EUD’s opinion in the wrong direction – towards a super-state). The EUD opposes the notion of an “ever closer union” and supports more democratic alternatives to the EU that are based on interstate-cooperation such as EFTA membership or bilateral arrangements. Nonetheless, this opportunity to reform the EU must deliver transparency, accountability and better budget control without creating new EU institutions or bodies. Powers must also be returned to all Member States and not only be accumulated by Brussels or returned to the UK alone. Regardless of the much hyped reform negotiations and their outcome it is of utmost importance that this crucial constitutional issue is settled by the British voters without unfair EU influence. During the UK referendum on EU membership the EUD will deploy its acquired EU-referendum experience to monitor the EU institutions – who must remain neutral – and not financially or by other means support the Yes side.…
Arranged in Berlin in conjunction with the 2015 EUD AGMJune 1st, 2015
The EUD gathered for its Annual General Meeting on Saturday June 28th in Berlin. The same day a public meeting on the militarisation of the EU was held. Patricia McKenna EUD President, Lave Broch from the Danish People’s Movement against the EU, and Hermann Streidl from the Ecological-Democratic Party in Germany delivered remarks on the subject. An interview with President McKenna on the subject can be found here and German media coverage of the event is available here.
Referendum likely in early 2016December 15th, 2014
A poll conducted for the EUD and Danish think-tank Ny Agenda has found that 64% of Danes want a bilateral, Norway style, agreement with the EU on justice policy. The pro-EU government has announced it intends to hold a referendum in early 2016 on abolishing the Danish Justice and Home Affairs opt-out secured as part of the Edinburgh agreement. The Edinburgh agreement secured opt-outs from four areas of EU policy and was negotiated by the Danish government after the Maastricht Treaty was rejected in a 1992 referendum.…
Majority thinks a referendum should have been heldDecember 12th, 2014
A survey commissioned by the EU-critical alliance Europeans United for Democracy (EUD) shows that 49% of Lithuanians disagree with their Government’s decision to introduce the euro, while only 26% of Lithuanians approve (5% fully, 21% tend to) of the decision to introduce the euro.
The survey also found that 57% of Lithuanians think that introducing the euro without a referendum is wrong. Only 32% responded that it was the right decision. Finally 64% of respondents were not confident “that Lithuania will receive the benefits of transitioning from Litas to Euros promised by the Government and various experts.”
These findings put in question the findings of EU funded surveys such as Eurobarometer that are long, complex and pro-euro biased. EUD’s poll was conducted using the same methodology as Eurobarometer, but was not part of a 20 question hour-long questionnaire. It shows definitively that one month from its introduction there is no public support for the euro in Lithuania.
The EUD is an EU-critical alliance with elected representation in 12 EU-countries. It has campaigned throughout 2012, 2013 and 2014 to inform Latvian and Lithuanian citizens of the consequences of giving up monetary policy sovereignty.
Q1: IN YOUR MIND DID THE PARLIAMENT AND GOVERNMENT ACT IN THE RIGHT OR WRONG WAY BY DECIDING TO NOT HOLD A REFERENDUM ON CHANGING CURRENCY FROM LITAS TO EUROS OR NOT?
EUD public meeting in London the 15th of November:…
Commission rejects registration of Stop-TTIP citizens' initiativeSeptember 18th, 2014
Claims by the European Commission and other pro Lisbon Treaty campaigners that the new EU Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) would give citizens power and influence over the EU, have been exposed as utterly spurious. Last week the Commission denied a request from the Stop-TTIP organization to have their initiative registered as an ECI. Critics of the ECI have always claimed that, when it came to the test, the Commission would reject ECI’s that it considered damaging to the EU integration project. To ensure that such controversial initiatives would be stopped in their tracks, the ECI regulation provides the Commission with broad subjective powers of interpretation that it can use to reject any proposed ECI’s.
While the EUD supports trading relationships between EU countries and non-EU countries, it insists that all such trade negotiations between the EU and third countries be conducted in an open and transparent manner. Those affected by EU trade policy should not be excluded from the process, meaning that a broad public debate must take place and public support must underpin all trade agreements. It is not acceptable that the EU and third countries negotiate and debate in secret without any involvement of other stakeholders and then presents a final treaty text for ratification in national parliaments and the EU-parliament on a ‘take it or leave it basis’. Legislating by way of secretly negotiated international treaties increases the sense of distrust and resentment many citizens already feel towards the EU. The EUD wishes to take this opportunity to remind the public that an independent country, such as Iceland, is able to bilaterally negotiate trade agreements that suit their specific needs, no member of the EU (customs union) has this flexibility.
The Stop-TTIP organization campaigns for a repeal of the negotiating mandate for the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement and the proposed EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Their petition reads:
We invite the European Commission to recommend to the Council to repeal the negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and not to conclude the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
In justifying its rejection of the proposed ECI the Commission writes:
According to Article 11(4) TEU, a citizens’ initiative can concern “matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties”. In the area of international agreements, such legal acts are the Council decisions on signature and conclusion of the agreement. Hence, as a matter of principle, the signature and conclusion of an international agreement with a given subject and content may be requested by a citizens’ initiative. Conversely, the preparatory Council decisions authorising the opening of international negotiations or repealing such authorisation do not fall within the scope of the Regulation. Therefore, the Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations is not a “a legal act of the Union” and the Commission recommendation for such a Council decision does not constitute an “appropriate proposal” within the meaning of Article 11(4) TEU and Article 2, point 1 and Article 4 (2)(b)of the Regulation.
Insofar as this part of your proposed citizens’ initiative could also be understood, in essence, as inviting the Commission not to submit proposals for Council decisions on the signature and / or conclusion of TTIP, it should be pointed out that pursuant to Article 2, point 1 of the Regulation a citizens’ initiative may only invite the Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit an appropriate proposal for a legal act considered necessary by the citizens for the purpose of implementing the Treaties. Conversely, a citizens’ initiative inviting the Commission not to propose a legal act is not admissible under that provision. The same holds true for a citizens’ initiative inviting the Commission to propose a “decision” not to adopt a legal act, since such decision would not deploy any autonomous legal effect beyond the fact of the legal act at issue not being adopted.
A legal opinion issued on behalf of the Stop-TTIP campaign by Professor Dr. jur . Bernhard Kempen, University of Cologne, regarding the admissibility of an ECI against TTIP concluded the following:
- 1. An ECI with the aim of preventing TTIP and CETA is legally admissible.
- 2. Due to their international thematic relationship, it is admissible to cover both agreements in a single ECI
- 3. Of the two versions submitted, preference should be given to Version 2, based on the current status of negotiations on CETA.
- 4. As an alternative to the submitted draft texts, it should suffice for the ECI to be formulated in such a way that only the aim of preventing the conclusion of the international agreements is made clear.
We also note that there is not sufficient support for TTIP in the US Congress. Leading Senators and members of the House of Representatives from both parties have already torpedoed President Obama’s attempts at circumventing constitutional checks on the ratification of international treaties. Similar attempts could be made in Europe when the ratification process starts. Therefore the EUD urges citizens to monitor how their national and EU parliamentarians act on this matter and calls on them to hold these elected representatives to account by demanding that they reject this undemocratic, untransparent and authoritarian approach to treaty negotiations. A fait accompli negotiated in secret and presented to national parliaments for ratification without broad public debate is not acceptable under any circumstances in any so called democratic regime.Sources:
May 19th 2014
The Swedish people feel uninformed about the EU ahead of the European Parliament election. Swedes have underestimated how much political power has been transferred to Brussels and wantthe Swedish Riksdag to have considerably more decision making power than what is the case today.
On behalf of the EUD, Demoskop asked 2050 Swedes about their views on the EU. Their responses show there is considerable dissatisfaction about the situation and voters want their national parliament, the Riksdag, to have more influence and that Brussels should have considerably less.
Swedish voters have not realized how many things are decided in the EU. When Sweden joined in 1995 the distribution of power was such that the Riksdag was responsible for two thirds of decisions while Brussels decided the last third. After almost twenty years of membership the distribution of power has been reversed.
The public in Sweden have a totally different perception of the situation. Close to two thirds of Swedes believe that the Riksdag decides more than Brussels. Many voters are of the opinion that the Riksdag decides considerably more than Brussels, close to half of them believe that the Riksdag decides 70 percent or more.
Swedish voters want the Riksdag to decide much more than what is the case today. As many as 81 percent of those interviewed responded that they want the Riksdag to decide more than half of all political issues. Only four percentage of respondents wanted the EU to decide more than half of all political issues.
The poll shows that the establishment parties who are responsible for the current policy which allows for political power to flow to Brussels do this against the will of the people. A vast majority of the Swedish people want to see a different power-sharing agreement were a large majority of the decisions are in the hands of the Riksdag.
European Commissioner Viviane Reding has said that the election to the European Parliament is about saying yes or no the United States of Europe. This poll is a clear message to her and other EU-federalists: the Swedish people do not want a United States of Europe, 71 percent are negative to a development that in the long term leads to a United States of Europe, while only 9 percent are of the opinion that it would be a good thing.
A conclusion of the poll is that the established parties have very weak public support when they let EU decide over ever more issues. The Swedish people have not at all realized to what extent powers have been transferred to Brussels. Instead they believe that the Riksdag decides much more than what is the case. Furthermore, the Swedish people are of the opinion that EU should decide considerably less than they do in reality.
New report shows that the three large groups in the European Parliament voted the same in 9 out of 10 final votes during 2013.May 11th, 2014
A new report examining the voting records of European Parliament groups published by the Organization for European Interstate Cooperation, the EUD affiliated think-tank shows that the three large groups in the European Parliament vote the same in 9 out of 10 final votes during 2013. Previously published examinations of 2008 and 2010 voting records in the European Parliament confirm that there are no differences between the groups in final votes.
The report found that out of 338 final votes with Roll Call Vote (RCV) on resolutions and reports during 2013 the Christian democrats (EPP) and the Socialists (S&D) disagreed in only 7.7% of the votes. This means they agreed in 92.3% of all final votes with RCV during 2013.The three large groups in the European Parliament agree on most issues such as wanting to transfer more power from member states to the EU, massively increasing the EU-budget and the introduction of EU-taxes.
EPP and the Liberals in ALDE disagreed in 7.4% of final votes with RCV while S&D and ALDE also disagreed in 7.4% of final votes but on different issues. The few issues which EPP, S&D and ALDE disagreed on were almost all resolutions outside of the legislative process, meaning that they were only political statements. When the groups disagreed on legislative issues the groups were also split internally and could therefore not reach agreement. Most importantly – out of the 26 RCV final votes on 20 issues where EPP and S&D disagreed, only five were ordinary legislative procedure issues, meaning co-decision with the Council, covering four policy areas.
The member parties of these establishment groups do not communicate this fact clearly to their domestic electorates, instead their leaders try to show that the ideological conflicts are many and significant.
These statistics from 2013, backed up by similar figures from 2008 and 2010, show that the culture of compromise still exists with good effect in the European Parliament. This makes party-political differences artificial in the election debate.
The EPP and S&D groups disagreed on the following final votes under the ordinary legislative procedure during 2013:
• Sound level of motor vehicles
• Timing of auctions of greenhouse gas allowances (voted twice)
• Measures for the recovery of European eel stocks
• Third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders
Read more about the OEIC and its activities at www.oeiceurope.com
two thirds believe a referendum on euro introduction should have been heldApril 23rd, 2014
Four months after introducing the euro Latvians continue to be opposed to the transition writes Kārlis Seržants, Latvian MP and member of the EUD on Aprinkis.lv about the findings of a new EUD poll conducted by the most reputed pollster in Latvia, SKDS. The poll shows 52% opposed to the transition to the euro, while support stands at only 22%.
66% of respondents believe the government and parliament acted in the wrong way when they decided not to hold a referendum on the introduction of the euro.
When asked what the main reason for the governments decision to adopt the euro Latvians responded as follows. Note the low number of respondents (5%) choosing foreign security benefits as the main reason.
When asked ”How confident are you that Latvia will receive the benefits of transitioning from lats to euros promised by the government and various experts?” 72% of respondents said that they are not confident, while only 16% said they are confident.
Latvian citizens disagree with statements made by the Latvian Central Bank leading up to and during the transition phase.
87% of Latvians believe prices have increased during the last six months (Latvia introduced the euro on January 1st 2014). A study by a Latvian daily has found that prices of a normal basket of goods have gone up 20% during the last six months.
EUD has campaigned throughout 2012 and 2013 to inform the Latvian citizens of the consequences of giving up monetary policy sovereignty. The EUD will continue its information efforts in Lithuania. Please support our efforts by making a donation.The field work was conducted 7-20 March 2014 and the sample size was 1000. Full poll data can be found here.
A TNS/Gallup poll published by the EUD April 2 2014 shows 50% of respondents in Finland and 49% in Sweden would vote for Nordic countries deepening co-operation (nordiskt förbund) in many policy areas and negotiating a trade agreement with the EU. A poll conducted in February by Danish think-tank Ny Agenda showed similar results (47%).
Fewer than one in three respondents would vote for EU-membership if the Nordic countries instead would establish a joint trade agreement with the EU and deeper co-operation among the Nordic countries in areas such as justice, environment, foreign- and trade policy. Given this choice only 31% in Finland and 28% in Sweden and Denmark would support EU membership.
Lave K. Broch, EUD Vice-President of the EUD and candidate for the EU-parliament on the People’s Movement against the EU list in Denmark said in reaction to the results:
“These polls show that there is broad public support for deeper Nordic cooperation and little support for EU-membership. Together with the United Kingdom the Nordic countries could demand that power from the EU must be transferred back to member states or even better the UK and Nordic countries could leave the EU and establish a EFTA trade agreement with the EU from outside the union. The fact that there exists no public support in the Nordic countries for deeper economic or political integration within the EU should be made clear to European leaders by governments in, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.”
Recently the EUD published a report critical of how the EU´s principle of subsidiarity has been implemented.
In the report, Anne-Marie Pålsson, former member of the Swedish Parliament and Adjunct Professor in Economics at Lund University argues that:
“With the Lisbon Treaty, clear borders would be drawn for the competences of the European Union. The democratic deficit would be eliminated and the national parliaments would be involved in the work of the European Union. All this would be accomplished through changes in the subsidiarity control.
But the competences of the EU are so wide, its targets so ambitious and the criterions when a proposal is in breach of the principle are so imprecisely formulated that this control lacks all prerequisites to stop the transfer of new competences to the EU.
It appears unlikely that the purpose of the new Treaty really was to give the national parliaments a more profiled role because the regulations for the scrutiny of subsidiarity would not have been designed in way that the national parliaments cannot put power behind their words.
The arrangement to let the national parliaments be responsible for the scrutiny of the subsidiarity appears then only as a decoy, a way to make the EU appear more democratic than it is.”
The report includes concrete reform proposals that would strengthen the subsidiarity control in the EU, one of the core demands of the EUDemocrats and its member organisations.…
Red C poll finds lack of public awareness of changes in EU decision making process and strong public resistance to pay more for survival of Euro currencyDecember 30th, 2013
30th December 2013
Red C poll finds lack of public awareness of changes in EU decision making process and strong public resistance to pay more for survival of Euro currency
At the launch of a Red C opinion poll in Dublin today the EUDemocrats and the People´s Movement warned that Irish people were unwilling to make further sacrifices to ensure the future of the Euro currency and that they were unaware of forthcoming fundamental changes to the voting system in the EU Council of Ministers.The opinion poll found that:
Just under a third of the Irish public (33%) are aware of the change in EU law making policy to be enacted in November 2014, that will see smaller countries receive a smaller share of votes.
69% of the Irish public would oppose any suggestion of cuts to areas such as pay, welfare or pensions; if these were required by people in the Eurozone to ensure the continued existence of the euro currency.
A majority of the Irish public believes the European Central Bank is “not very” concerned (36%) or “not at all” concerned (16%) with Irish interests.
The President of the EU Democrats, former MEP Patricia McKenna , said that the findings of the poll show a lack of public awareness of forthcoming fundamental changes to decision making at EU level and also shows a strong resistance to any further suggested costs to taxpayers to help bail out the Euro currency.
McKenna said it was notable that despite two referendum campaigns 69% of Irish people were still unaware of the most significant political change introduced by the Lisbon Treaty – which is that voting in the all powerful EU Council of Ministers will move to a population based system giving a huge increase in voting power to the big States at the expense of small States like Ireland. In 2014 Ireland will see its vote more than halved to less than 1% while Germany will see its vote doubled to 16%.
She said, these findings come as no surprise to members of the Peoples Movement and the EUDemocrats because we have argued consistently that there was a deliberate policy by the Government and the political establishment to keep Irish people in the dark about this fundamental change to the EU law-making process. From November, under the new population-based system, the six largest EU States will increase their share of Council votes from 49% to over 70% while the combined voting share of the 22 smallest States will fall from 51% to less than 30%.
People’s Movement patron and artist Robert Ballagh said, the findings that 72% Irish people would be resistant to any cuts in pay, social welfare or pensions to ensure the survival of the Euro currency should provide a strong health warning to any further plans by Government for continued austerity measures. It is significant to note that despite Irish people’s current attachment to the Euro a large majority will resist any further pain to ensure its survival. Clearly Irish people’s generosity will only stretch so far. The Irish taxpayer has already paid a high price for the Euro’s survival. It is now a well known fact that in order to protect the Euro project the EU and ECB put pressure on the Irish Government to provided the infamous 2008 blanket guarantee for all loans by Irish banks thus ensuring that these debts were transferred onto the backs of the Irish taxpayer.
People’s Movement member, Kevin McCorry pointed out that while Irish public opinion appears polarised in terms how concerned they believe the ECB is with Irish interests, the findings overall show a slight majority, 52% of people have little or no confidence in the ECB’s ability to take account of Irish interests. He said this is a significant finding, in that the main EU institution controlling the economies of all Eurozone countries including Ireland attracts little public confidence from Irish people. Furthermore, it highlights yet again the serious democratic deficit at the heart of the EU structure because even if 100% of people distrusted the ECB it would be irrelevant as there is no mechanism to hold this vital decision-making institution to account.
RED C interviewed a random sample of 1,003 adults aged 18+ by telephone between the 16th-18thDecember 2013. A random digit dial (RDD) method, using both mobile and landline numbers, was used to ensure a random selection process of households to be included – this also ensures that ex-directory and mobile only households are covered. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results weighted to the profile of all adults, by gender, age social class and region. The margin of error on this sample size is +/- 3.2%.…
Report: Is there really a political difference in the EU Parliament between the big groups?December 11th, 2012
The think-tank Organization for European Interstate Cooperation, in association with the EU-critical European alliance EUDemocrats, has conducted a study entitled: “Is there really a political difference in the European Parliament between the big groups?”
The report examines all final votes with Roll Call in the European Parliament during 2010. The result is clear: in 484 final votes on resolutions and reports, the Christian Democrats (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) disagreed in just 2.9%. This means they agreed in 97.1% of all final votes. The PPE and the Liberals in ALDE disagreed in 2.5% of the final votes while S&D and ALDE disagreed in 1.9% of all final votes. A previous study examining voting behaviour in 2008 showed similar results.
The main question raised by this study is; does it matter which one of the three large European parties you vote for since they appear to act as a bloc in European Parliament votes?
The few issues on which disagreement between PPE, S&D, and ALDE existed were restricted mostly to resolutions outside of the legislative procedure, where the role of the European Parliament is limited to issuing a political statement. Often, internal divisions in the three big groups existed on those same issues where agreement between the groups did not exist.
PPE, S&D, and ALDE agree on almost all votes and compromise on almost all issues. In election campaigns, they claim that it makes a difference who you, as a voter, send to Brussels/Strasbourg. But examining the voting record shows this is simply not true. Differences in opinion among voters are not visible in the work of the European Parliament.
When analysing the European Parliament as a political and legislative institution, it is important to note the large political coalition that exists between the EPP, S&D, and ALDE. If anything, these groups act as a common “European Parliament Political Group” concerned first and foremost with safeguarding the interest of their EU institution, consistently calling for more powers and funds for the EU. This is often contrary to arguments made by their national party colleagues represented in the Council and in national and regional parliaments.
In general the biggest groups seem to belong to a “European Party.” They want to increase the EU budget in opposition to at least ten national parliaments. They also want to abolish the national rebates on the membership fees that some countries have and even MEPs from countries that would be affected by this have voted with their groups against their national parties.
For voters the 2014 European Parliament elections might end up rather dull: the Christian Democrats, the Socialists, and the Liberals stand for a more or less identical policy position, based on increased powers for the European Parliament and other EU institutions, more money in the EU budget, the introduction of a EU direct tax and pushing propaganda for the euro etc.