Friday 17 April 2009

European elections: And the ELDR candidate is…?

The European liberal democrats (ELDR) launched their campaign for the June 2009 European elections and held their Council meeting yesterday. Here is the information they offer on the Council page:

“The ELDR Council Meeting will take place on the 16 April 2009 in Brussels, Belgium (from 11h00 to 14h00 followed by a lunch)

More info will follow in due course.”

The home page tells us that the Irish Fianna Fail has joined the liberals and that the ELDR has replied to the open letter by the Party of European Socialists (PES).


Commission President

But the most important question for EU citizens is the name of the liberal candidate to head the European Commission for the next five years.

On this, nothing.

Richard Laming of Federal Union fared no better in his search. In his blog post Silence speaks louder than words Laming concludes that the ELDR are not alone in European politics in ducking this issue, but that was not his understanding of what liberal politics was meant to mean.


Quisling Prime Ministers

They have all politically agreed on the Treaty of Lisbon, but they feel no obligation to act in the spirit of the two miserly concessions they made directly to the citizens of the European Union: To take account of the EP election results when appointing the candidate to become the President of the Commission and to put into practice the limited citizens’ initiative.

Long before the elections, the PES has been undermined, most notably by prime ministers Socrates, Zapatero and Brown.

The ELDR affiliated members of the European Council come from smaller countries such as Finland and Estonia, so their defection from the cause of European level democracy has gone largely unnoticed.

But the Quisling mechanism is the same: Overt or covert support for a second term for José Manuel Barroso (EPP), without interference from voters.

They did not even have the guts to support Barroso, if that is their intention.

Their subliminal message is: The European Union is their project, not ours. Solidarity between heads of state or government, but not towards the citizens of the European Union. The European elections do not matter.

A docile and less legitimate Commission strengthens the hand of national leaders in their ineffective and increasingly intergovernmental dealings at EU level, at a time when the world cries out for effective European solutions.


Results of deception

Catastrophic numbers of voters look set to abstain from voting in June, despite umpteen million euros plowed into awareness campaigns.

Paper or web pages – it doesn’t really matter: You cannot campaign on election manifestos or open letters, without flesh and blood candidates competing for at least one top spot.

The political parties at European level are abject failures, and I am still eagerly waiting for the first noteworthy contribution from their foundations (think-tanks), despite massive funding.



It is extremely sad that Libertas is the only political party with pan-European ambitions, which has been able to attract attention even in media specialised on European affairs. Libertas has made a hash out of its launch.

If successful, a campaign against the Lisbon Treaty boils down to an expensive manoeuvre to retain the failed Treaty of Nice. It like opting for quicksand instead of progress.

There is no political programme for the coming five years, just strings of complaints and vague statements of pro-Europeanism contradicted by the recruited anti-European nationalists (and worse).


The state of this Union is bleak.

Ralf Grahn


  1. There are multiple reasons why the main powerhouse political parties are navelgazing when asked who they want as their candidate for the EU president. They'd rather look for possible coalitions together instead of suffering loss of face when their candidate doesn't hit the intened mark at the ballot office.

    In any respect, there are few pan-European alternatives. AEGEE has launched an initiative called 'Newropeans' in certain EU countries and their candidates should make it (supposedly as independents?). I must say, their ideas of radically decentralizing all EU institutions and scatter them across European metropoles at once to bring the EU 'closer to the citizens' is utterly idealistic. Then there's 'Europe United', who are more in favour of putting an end to existing democratic deficiencies and beef up lacking (or non-existent) policy strategies.
    So as you know here in Belgium, voting legislation is utterly divisive because it imposes a mandatory categorization of voters according to the official language used in each of the regions (I can't vote in French for instance because I'm registered in Flanders. For Brussels inhabitants and the 13 'facility municipalities' there's certain flexibility).

    Other initiatives remain inspiring: I've just read on EurActiv that a new 'sole bilingual party', ProBruxsel, is defying that policy. A brave move that challenges the obsession for integrity of language and culture across our political landscape.

    This sort of divisive electoral lawmaking is also stymying the parties to go for clear leadership, except for the national parliamentary elections which coincide with those for the EP.

    There's this complacency about 'bureaucratic intertia' haunting EU elections that is numbing the bravery of overcoming 'coallition-groupthink'. I say: don't be so shy and prone on outcomes and seat division. Liberals, convince your peers to propose a draft proposal for a seperate list allowing direct voting for the next EU Commission president. What are the odds of stalemates (e.g. Graham Watson and Guy Verhofstadt)?
    It's a path that must be ventured, for the sake of democracy in the EU.

  2. Nico,

    Belgium is a worrying example of internal disintegration, with intolerant laws and policies souring relations between the linguistic groups.

    The Newropeans and Europe United are positive efforts, but almost invisible. They would have to build coalitions on a different scale, if they want to influence European politics.

    Ideally, we should have a legal status for Europarties, as for European companies.

    We should also have a uniform electoral code for the European elections.

    Sadly, neither has much chance of finding favour with all member states and established parties.

    There are notable liberal political personalities, who could take high offices like that of the Commission President, but heads of state or government have incapacitated the liberals in the same way as the socialists, leaving us with one declared candidate for 375 million voters.


Due deluge of spam comments no more comments are accepted.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.