Thursday, 5 March 2009

Positive reactions from European Parliament

The continuing series on the European Parliament on this blog has pointed out the lack of information about the (meagre) common European rules on the electoral system ahead of the European Parliamentary Elections in June 2009, as well as the inaccessibility of information about the important decisions taken by internal bodies of the EP (Bureau, Conference of Presidents).

Therefore I am pleased to tell my readers that we have had positive responses from Chris and Christian on additions for interested EU citizens.

These comments lie hidden in two and three week old posts, so it is better to take them out in the open.

I can also say that I received a quick and fairly good response from the EP Press service, when I had a query about the Libertas application for Europarty funding.


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EP election pages


There is now a new page called ‘United in diversity: Rules for the European Parliamentary elections’, 2009 elections - Institutions - 04-03-2009 - 10:19.

The page offers a summary of the development of common electoral rules and the main European level principles in force. The presentation is available here:



http://www.europarl.europa.eu/elections2009/welcome/headlines.htm?language=EN&ref=20090302STO50552&secondRef=0



The older summary of European electoral procedures is still available (has it even been updated recently?):

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/expert/displayFtu.do;jsessionid=16B8AB44F7004E9C7B4C31FF2AE4AC81.node1?id=74&ftuId=FTU_1.3.4.html


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2014 reform?


Andrew Duff MEP is rapporteur for the Committee on Constitutional Affairs on a draft Report on a proposal for a modification of the Act concerning the election of the Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage of 20 September 1976; dated 15.10.2008, procedure: 2007/2207(INI):

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-412.180+02+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN


Two merits

1) At this point in time, the own-initiative draft report has not been voted by the committee or the Parliament, but it discusses several issues where electoral procedures could be harmonised ahead of the 2014 European Parliamentary Elections.

As such, the questions are of interest to teachers, students and politically engaged EU citizens.


2) Although the current updated (consolidated) version of the existing European level electoral rules lies hidden in an Annex, it is a real improvement over the part mosaic we encountered on Eur-Lex.

In other words, a valuable source for those who happen to find it, but far from visibly posted.


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Committee of inquiry

The blog post on EP committees of inquiry received a comment with a link to an interesting paper by Michael Shackleton ‘The European Parliament’s new committees of inquiry: Tiger or paper tiger? (1997), available at:



http://aei.pitt.edu/2725/


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Conclusion and following steps


I want to thank Chris and/or Christian for the valuable updates and comments. The electoral basics are now better covered by the European Parliament ahead of the June elections. Existing rules have been dug up. The EP Press service was responsive when I asked directly. High marks for the press editors.

The next steps may need decisions at the political level.

Why not publish the internal decisions of the Bureau and the Conference of Presidents visibly and automatically on the EP web pages?

A systematic presentation of all the interinstitutional agreements would be an improvement, too.


As I have said, the information exists. It is only a question of good will to make it accessible to EU citizens in a real sense.



Ralf Grahn