Posts Tagged ‘European parliament’

I don’t like the European Parliament or the In campaign. The EU is flawed. But I’m voting to remain

14/03/2016, 10:20:04 PM

by Robin Thorpe

The EU referendum is not really a Left-Right issue; it instead seems to separate groups of people on their age and level of education.

But membership of the EU does accord with one of the core beliefs  of the Labour movement: that we achieve more by working together than we do alone. Indeed the Labour Party rule book explicitly states that Labour is committed to co-operating in European institutions as well as the UN, the Commonwealth and other international bodies to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all. These are things that can only be achieved by international co-operation.

However, the Labour Party rule book (2013) also states that Labour works for “an open democracy, in which government is held to account by the people; decision are taken as far as practicable by the communities they affect; and where fundamental human rights are guaranteed”.  The current European Parliament does not correlate with these expectations. I can therefore understand why some Labour supporters may also wish to leave the EU.

David Cameron’s negotiations, although largely insignificant, had one major outcome: that the UK would not be obliged to be a part of “ever closer union”. But for me this misses the fundamental choice that faces not just the citizens of the UK but all of the peoples of Europe.

Do we truly want a common market across Europe, or do we want to remain as independent nations. Because to normalise both access to the market and quality of goods and services across Europe then we will need a common approach to much more than just fishing quotas and standard paper sizes. In my opinion we should either accept that a truly successful European Union would look like a United States of Europe, or we accept that it is flawed and make the best of a bad thing. Which is why I think that Cameron’s negotations were a failure. They didn’t just achieve nothing of use, they focused the purpose of the referendum on immigration.


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The diversity deficit in the European parliament is undermining its legitimacy

11/06/2012, 05:00:24 PM

by Robbie Scot

Before the Labour party begins selecting candidates for the European elections in 2014 a serious effort needs to be made to attract candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds. The chronic under-representation of ethnic minorities in the EU parliament has reached such a height that it casts serious doubt on the ability of the chamber to properly represent voters.

The UK sends 72 MEPs to Brussels and Strasbourg; four come from ethnic minority backgrounds. Out of 736 MEPs 15 of them come from ethnic minority backgrounds.  We could squeeze them all onto a minibus.

At a time when the BRICS are the fastest growing economies in the world a European parliament that looks more like an imperial court than a 21st century legislative chamber hardly does much for Europe’s standing on the international stage. The scale of underrepresentation in the European parliament is intractable and will not be redressed with anti-discrimination laws alone. Affirmative action is needed if we’re going to overcome this diversity deficit.

There are 13 Labour MEPs in the European Parliament – London’s Claude Moraes is our only ethnic minority MEP, the Liberal Democrats have none and the Conservatives 3. Regional parties should work closely with ethnic minority party members and sitting councillors to increase their exposure to European issues some years before the selection process.

This hasn’t happened and I doubt we’ll see a breakthrough in the coming year. When the UK sends two more ethnic minority representatives to the European Parliament than the BNP I think the time for access schemes and talking has finished. This is where Labour can make a difference.


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