Category Archives: Elections09

European election party in London

logoelections2009_enOn Thursday people will (not) vote for the European Parliament in the United Kingdom. Interested people like me might wonder if there is any “election party” organised (as I know it from elsewhere). So I enquired at the EP’s London office. The answer is that there is no party organised. But:

The European Parliament has information for media about their own coverage via webTV from Brussels.

Moreover for those interested, BBC2 is showing two programmes on Sunday, one at 19.30h and then a longer one from 22h.

I am still talking to friends to set up a small “party” somewhere, so if you are interested to join, let me know.

If you wonder why UK results are only going public on Sunday, keep in mind that no country is allowed to issue any results until Sunday evening when the last (and majority of) countries have closed the ballot boxes.

New anti-Barroso campaign – for new Commission President

Apparently a few PES activists have launched a good new Website “A-New-President.eu“. It has a similar message to the AnyoneButBarroso.eu initiative Jon and me started about two years ago.

Its main element is the petition (I have also signed):

The European Parliament will elect the next European Commission. We, the voters on June 7 do not only decide the composition of the European Parliament, we also decide upon the driving seat of the EU: The European Commission. The composition of the executive EU body – the European Commission – has to reflect the vote of us EU citizens on June 7.

We call for the PES to build a new progressive majority with a strong Commission President.

We demand respect for our democratic rights! We demand that the Presidency of the European Council makes sure that the European Governments nominate a Commission President that reflects the majority in the European Parliament.

Besides the petition the activists put up relevant information on the building up of the Commission and speculations about Barroso’s replacement. Continue reading

Zumutung Barroso

Commission President Barroso

Die FAZ schreibt heute über ein Interview, das Kommissionspräsident Barroso mehreren europäischen Zeitungen gegeben hat. Darin erklärt Barroso zu seinen Ambitionen auf ein erneutes Mandat als Kommissionspräsident:

Der Respekt vor dem Parlament, das vom 4. bis 7. Juni neu gewählt wird, gebiete es jedoch sich nicht schon jetzt zu einer Kandidatur zu äußern.

Wie bitte?! – Man stelle sich einmal vor, Angela Merkel würde erklären, dass sie ja noch nicht sagen kann, ob sie wieder Kanzlerin werden will, weil sie erst die Bundestagswahl abwarten möchte. Ja, was soll ich denn dann als Wähler machen? Erst die Wahl abwarten und dann wählen?! Es geht doch auch bei dieser Wahl natürlich nicht nur um die Wahlprogramme der Parteien sondern auch darum wer sie umsetzt. Aber wer denkt, dass er die zukünftigen Verantwortlichen für eben diese Umsetzung vor den Wählern verstecken muss, der darf sich auch nicht wundern, warum so wenige zur Wahl gehen.

Stefan Kornelius greift in seinem heutigen Kommentar in der Süddeutschen Zeitung noch einen anderen wichtigen Punkt auf: Nach 30 Jahren direkt gewähltest Parlament sollten die Parteien und “Eliten” endlich aufhören, Europa zu rechtfertigen. Sie sollen endlich mit dem Wahlkampf anfangen und ihre Inhalte in den Vordergrund stellen.

Übrigens: Es ärgert mich, Continue reading

The PES can’t hide their lack of leadership anymore

Poul Nyrup RasmussenAdmittedly, the PES is running a fairly good internet campaign. They have relaunched their web presence way ahead of the European elections and maybe even more importantly they have made a good effort to reach out to (EU) bloggers. They have even included me in their blogger email target list – so that I get updates whenever key blog posts from the party leader Nyrup Rasmussen come out or they hold key events.

I wish the European Greens (EGP) would have been able to run an equally good campaign.

There are two reasons why I am writing this blog entry – and why I am writing it on my blog.

The other day I have received an email from Jeremy Cliffe, the PES’s focal point for bloggers. He was linking up to a recent blog entry by Nyrup Rasmussen in which he declares that the PES is working towards a new majority to stop Barroso. – What a surprise I thought… as if this is not the logic of pluralist political party systems in which parties actually compete for leadership. However, this logic has not really got through to the PES leaders who have been incapable of agreeing on a candidate for the job of Commission President. Given that the PES is (still?) by far the second biggest grouping in EU politics, such a lack of responsibility is the biggest farce in democratic politics Continue reading

Moravcsik on the European Constitutional Settlement

Andrea MoravcsikOne of the greatest benefits of studying at LSE has been to attend public lectures by world leaders and academics. So far my highlight had been the 3-day “tour de growth” with Philippe Aghion. After last night I feel that the most (academically) stimulating experience has been Andrew Moravcsik’s lecture on the “European Constitutional Settlement”.
As a committed federalist I have often found it difficult to agree with Moravcsik’s analysis of the process of European integration. Since his landmark studies in the early 1990s he has long been the defender of the intergovernmental method – acknowledging continuing control in the hand of EU member states. My experience working in and around EU politics over the last 9 years has been different but I have always valued Moravcsik’s contribution as a valid intellectual and academic challenge to any federalist.

With this blog entry I will try to sum up Andrew’s speech Continue reading

Watch your MEP… but how?

VoteWatch.euI am currently participating in the European Open Data Summit in Brussels. You can follow us via twitter #eods09 and I am also publishing further observations on FollowTheMoney.eu.

The event was kicked-off yesterday with a presentation of EU Vote Watch. – VoteWatch.eu is going to be launched next week. Its aim is to present the voting record and behaviour of Members of the European Parliament (EP). To publish voting records, the website draws on Roll-Call Vote (RCV) data from the European Parliament. The registration of RCVs can be requested by groups in the European Parliament on more or less any vote (and amendment) they like. A few hours after any vote, the record can be seen on the EP’s website. The sponsors of the VoteWatch.eu project aim to have the data inside their own website just a few hours after Parliament publishes them. Prior to this new website, there had been a very similar project by the Romanian Institute of Public Policy (IPP). Now, Doru Frontescu, the main protagonist of this previous project has joined VoteWatch.eu but unfortunately their old website www.ippro-mep.eu is not publicly available anymore. Another angle at things is the German project Abgeordnetenwatch, where you can publish questions to national MPs but also MEPs and some kind of peer pressure is bringing most MPs to answer these publicly.

The challenge: translating information into action

After the presentation Continue reading

Who inventend the “Green New Deal”?

Green New Deal groupI am currently working on a meta-study about the job potential of Green policies (or a Green New Deal) in these days of economic crisis. The study should be available in a few weeks – and any input about job estimates and scenario’s is highly appreciated. But while working on this I was wondering who actually termed the phrase of a “Green New Deal”?

From my (limited) EU/German/UK perspective I have so far seen the debate and terminology taking off at different places over the past year. The first essential contribution and to my knowledge also the first mentioning of the term is in Van Jones’ great book “The Green Collar Economy” which must have been out around spring 2008. In this book he devotes a specific chapter to his idea of a Green New Deal (for the US) considering a new partnership encompassing a wide variety of different social groups who would bring about economic change and a low-carbon economy.

In July 2008 the “Green New Deal GroupContinue reading

Steuersenkung contra Mehrausgaben

Wer sich die europäischen Antworten auf die Finanzkrise anschaut, findet sich vor einem bunten Mosaik. Die (“linke”) Labour Regierung hat Banken verstaatlicht, die Mehrwertsteuer um 2,5% gesenkt und ein großes Defizitprogramm gestartet. Die (rechte) französische Regierung hat es geschafft, sich bisher bei Steuersenkungen zurückzuhalten und mit erhöhten Ausgaben (u.a. zum Autokauf) und Bankgarantien Einfluss auf eine Erholung zu nehmen. Daneben versucht Sarkozy die Finanzkrise als Entschuldigung zur Abschottung der französischen Industrie zu nutzen. Und Deutschland? Die Große Koalition will es irgendwie allen Recht machen – und macht gar nichts richtig. Das 50 Milliarden Paket (und der Mini-Vorgänger) besteht Continue reading

The EU budget in 2009

On FollowTheMoney.eu I have published a first article with some thoughts about the main developments with regards to the EU budget in 2009. This article looks at the budget review, the possible denial or delay of discharge for the Council and the provision of new transparency data.

In a second article to be published later this week by now I will speculate on the impact of the European elections on budgetary policy in the European Parliament and the Commission – including my guess for the next Budget Commissioner.

Ypsilanti bringt sich selber zur Strecke – Grüne sollten Restitution fordern

Andrea YpsilantiDie Ypsilanti-Strategie war wohl der größte Griff ins Klo, den die deutsche Politik seit einiger Zeit erleben durfte. Dabei hatte alles so gut begonnen für die SPD. Zumindest schien es so… Endlich war Ruhe eingekehrt im schon seit langem gespaltenen hessischen Landesverband, weil es auf einmal so aussah, als wenn die Ypsilanti doch irgendwie die Landtagswahl im Frühjahr gewinnen könne. Mit dem Ausblick auf Erfolg ordnete sich auch die hessische SPD-Rechte der Strategie ihrer Spitzenfrau unter. Dann kam es aber anders.

Fakt 1: Auch wenn am Wahlabend eine Stimmengleichheit von CDU und SPD vorlag, feierte die SPD (und Ypsilanti samt Ehemann und Zuflüsterer) sich als den großen Sieger. Eigentlich gab es aber nur Verlierer (in Prozenten) – außer den Linken natürlich. Fakt 2: Dass Ypsilanti ihren Stimmenzuwachs u.a. Dank der (ex-Grünen Agentur) Hirschen und durchs Wildern im Grünen Wählerreservoir erreichte, schien man auf Grüner Seite schnell vergessen zu haben. Auch der Einzug der Linken in den Landtag war irgendwie schon als gegeben hingenommen worden. Fakt 3: Dass die nun neue Vorzeigelinke der SPD Continue reading