About four weeks ago, Luc Van den Brande, President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), joined with his European Parliament counterpart Hans-Gert Pöttering in calling on local and regional representatives from across the EU to encourage citizens to vote in June's European elections. The headline of the press release was Van den Brande and Pöttering urge regional and local elected politicians to get involved in European elections. All 27 versions can be accessed here.
It is remarkable how few changes would be needed to make the text applicable to the political parties at European level, the so called Europarties.
You know, the champions of EU citizens mentioned in Article 191 of the Treaty establishing the European Community:
Article 191 TEC
Political parties at European level are important as a factor for integration within the Union. They contribute to forming a European awareness and to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union.
There is one important distinction: Municipalities and regions are not directly dependent on the budget of the European Union. Europarties are.
The Europarties and their political foundations are financed by the European Parliament to the tune of about 18 million euros annually, but they have yet to nominate candidates for the post of President of the Commission.
Intimidated by members of the European Council, they have failed to stand up for the citizens of the European Union. They have (until now) failed in their primary task, and the results are seen in various polls on imminent abstention rates at the European elections.
Perhaps the letter to the Europarties could be spiced up with a threat to recover funds misused? For how can the Europarties even argue that they fulfil the conditions, if they fail in their primary task?