European Parliament Elections 2014 – Commission President

One of the big outcomes (supposedly!) from this years European Parliament Elections will be the nominated by the winning European Parliament Grouping in the Elections. While some believe this will lead to deadlock and confrontation, other believe it is the start of a truly democratic European Union.

So who are the European Parties nominating?

Party of European Socialists (PES)

The PES had a great idea of a Europe wide primary among its member parties, but in the end this didn’t happen as only one candidate was nominated, that being the current President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz of the Germany’s SPD. While this has annoyed a number of activists, it has prevented a possible long drawn out campaign.

European People’s Party (EPP)

The EPP will open its nominations for the Commission President Candidate on February 13th and they close on March 5th before being selected at their Congress in Dublin on March 6th and 7th (Full Details here). A number of names have been mentioned including former head of the European Group and former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker. Though it is thought that Germany’s Angela Merkel is against his appointment and would prefer either Poland’s Donald Tusk or Ireland’s Enda Kenny to be the EPP’s nomination.

Another possible candidate is Viviane Reding the current Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

The ALDE Party (formerly ELDR)

The newly renamed ALDE Party is set to name its Candidate at a special conference in Brussels on February 1st. This is set to be a showdown between current Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn of Finland and the leader of the ALDE Group Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium. It will be interesting to see who will be victorious.

European Green Party

The European Green Party has embraced the internet and is allowing anyone who agrees with their policies to vote for their Candidate in an online Primary. You can vote for two out of the four candidates. The Candidates include José Bové of France, Monica Frassoni of Italy, Rebecca Harms of Germany and Ska Keller also of Germany. If you want to vote head on over to GreenPrimary.eu

European Left Party

The European Left Party last month nominated Alexis Tsipras leader of the Greek SYRIZA party to be its candidate in the elections. This is interesting as SYRIZA is the only party of the European Left Party to be leading in the polls in its home country. Its highly unlikely that Tsipras will be European Commission President, the next Greek Prime Minister on the other hand…

The other possible candidates include Maire Le Pen leading a European Far Right grouping (or maybe Nigel Farage?) and a possible European Conservatives and Reformist candidate, no names have emerged from that grouping.

It will be an interesting one to watch.

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The next Commission President?

European Commissioner Viviane Reding
European Commissioner Viviane Reding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Euractiv jostling for the nomination for the next European Commission President has begun. As the next President will be picked based on the who is the largest party in the next European Parliament, elected in 2014, it will be a contest between European People’s Party, EPP, (currently the largest party) and the Party of European Socialists ,PES, the next largest party, who sit as the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the Parliament.

For the EPP, Viviane Reding of Luxembourg, who is the currnet Vice President of the European Commission and is the Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. According for Euractiv sources she has begun campaigning for the position ahead of the EPP choosing its candidate ahead of the next election.

Reding is regarded as a bit of a shoe-in for the job, she has been a commissioner since 1999 and before that she was an MEP between 1989 and 1999. She has served in the following positions on the European Commission

  • Commissioner for Education and Culture (1999-2004)
  • Commissioner for Information Society and Media (2004-2010)
  • Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (2010 -Present)

She could be a very good candidate for the EPP and could be the first female President of the Commission.

For the PES, Martin Schulz of Germany, is positioning himself for the position. Schulz is currently the President of the European Parliament so would have a strong support base among PES/S&D MEPs. He was elected President in January 2012. He is an MEP since 1994. He led the PES group between 2004 and 2012.

Reding v Schulz could be the theme of the 2014 European Elections.

The European Parliament elections 2014 will be huge – But not in Ireland

Logo of the Defunct Pirate Party Ireland.

Ronny has a good post on his blog why the next the European Parliament Elections will be different from past ones. This election will quiet important with both the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the European People’s Party (EPP) putting forward agreed candidates for the post of President of the European Commission.

There is also the possibility of the Pirate Party becoming a European political force as they will be running in most of the countries of the European Union. A conference on a European Pirate Party is taking place this weekend in Prague.

But this is not the case in Ireland. With the elections taking place on the same day as the Local Elections in 2014 much of the focus in Ireland will be on national parties and how they are doing with very little to do about how their European Parties are doing.

Another reason for this is that will be the current MEP’s running again. While we have already seen 3 changes in our MEP’s since 2009. Paul Murphy replaced Joe Higgins in Dublin and Phil Prendergast replaced Alan Kelly in April 2011 following the General Election. In February this year Emer Costello replaced Proinsias De Rossa as he retired from the Parliament. It is unlikely there will be a change in who is running.

While Dublin could see a seat up for grabs if Paul Murphy can’t get the votes that Joe Higgins got in 2009. But I doubt there will be major changes in any of the other Euro Constituencies.

Another reason why the European Elections won’t be as exciting in Ireland is that we have no Pirate Party. The Pirate Party Ireland/Páirtí Foghlaithe na hÉireann was founded in May 2009 and had over 300 members in 2010 meaning they could register as a party, but in 2011 the party winded down after not standing in any election.

There is a hope that an Irish Pirate Party may be started up again and therefore make the European Parliament Elections here more interesting, but they have 2 years to do it.

FF and FG to be in coalition in Europe?

Negotiations are underway for the top jobs in Europe now that the results of the weekends elections are known.

The European Peoples Party (EPP), which Fine Gael is part of, has emerged as the largest party in the European Parliament with 263 seats. For a majority in the parliament 379 seats are needed.

The ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), which Fianna Fail is part of, has 80 seats giving a combined ALDE-EPP link up of 343 seats. This is 36 seats short.

For getting Barosso elected it would be easy for the EPP and ALDE to link up with the new Conservative grouping and get a majority for that election.

The question is who will be President of the Parliament. According to Euractiv.com the EPP have suggested a grand coaltion of the EPP, ALDE and the Party of European Socialists (PES) which would have 505 seats in the Parliament.

Graham Watson of the ALDE wants to be President of the Parliament and there will be no shortage of candidates in the EPP and PES vying for the top job in the Parliament.

Normally the President is elected for two and half years and is shared between two grouping. Im not sure how its going to be shared among three groupings over five years?

Lets see how the negotiations go, but it will be strange to have Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in a coalition no?

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My plan did not work

So yea, I was hoping that a certain Think post of mine would get activists of the PES (Socialists) riled up and start arguing, but it didn’t. So my plan did not work. In fact I had a PES blogger agreeing with me!

What it did point out is that PES activists seem to be the same as most voters in the European Election and ignore most of the campiagning done at the European level. Who really cares if the PES and ELDR (Liberals) exchanged open letters not exactly vote getting stuff now is it!

So how do I annoy PES activists? Please someone tell me!

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