The New European Parliament

eu flagsFollowing last month’s European Elections the European Parliament will meet on July 1st to constitute itself and elect its new President. Most commentators expect that the two largest groups, the European People’s Party and the Socialist and Democrats, will continue their alliance and split the presidency again between them.

So how did the groups fair? 

The European Parliament now consists of 751 MEPs down 15 from the 766 MEPs in the last parliament. There has been some changes of Group compositions with newly elected parties and independents joining groups and some parties changing groups. The Groups now stand as follows:

  • EPP: 221 (-53)
  • S&D: 191 (-4)
  • ECR: 63 (+7)
  • ALDE: 59 (-26)
  • Greens/EFA: 54 (-4)
  • GUE/NGL: 52 (+17)
  • EFD: 32 (-1)
  • NI: 79

In Ireland Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein have remained with their respective groups (EPP, S&D & GUE/NGL) and Independent Marian Harkin has also remained with ALDE.

Independent Nessa Childers has been readmitted to the S&D Group ensuring they are represented in every member state after Labour’s wipe-out at the elections. Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagen has joined Sinn Fein in the GUE/NGL group. The Socialist Party failed to retain it’s MEP.

That means the groups stand as follows in the Irish Delegation:

  • EPP: 4 (-)
  • S&D: 1 (-2)
  • ALDE: 2 (-2)
  • GUE/NGL: 4 (+4)

Commission President – Parliament v European Council

After electing the President and 14 Vice Presidents of the Parliament the next task will be voting for the European Commission President. While the EPP and S&D leadership are backing Jean Claude-Juncker they dont have complete control of their groups. With UK Labour opposing Junker’s candidacy, neither party can afford to lose support on this vote.

  • Needed for a Majority: 376
  • EPP + S&D: 412
  • EPP + S&D -UKLab: 392

16 votes would be quite close. But of course Junker will have to emerge as the European Council Nominee first, a battle in itself, before any such vote will take place in the European Parliament.

Too many Yes Groups?

VOTE YES OR VOTE NO
Image by infomatique via Flickr

Roberts post on IrishElection on Yes Groups for the Lisbon Treaty Referendum has given me some food for thought. Is there too many?

The groups that I know of are:

And thats not counting the Political Parties in favour of the Treaty, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and the Green Party! That is nearly 9 groups. There are probably more!

On the no side we have as Robert points out “Coir, Sinn Fein, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party and the other lefty fringe groups”. Does this mean that because of the broadcasting act the Yes side could be left without a coherent voice? Each group having only a small amount of time While the No side is able to pick from a small group of people. That is a possibility.

But why is there so many Yes Groups? Robert has one theory

Politicians are not popular right now, so it seems the Yes side’s tactic will be to keep them locked away in their offices

That is one reason yes, but I would add to it. What is your reaction when a politician starts talking about Europe? I switch off, and I am EU-phile. Why? Because they are boring, they try to show off how much they know and basically bore people. The talk about “we europeans” and use cliches like “at the heart of Europe” which means nothing to most people.

Hopefully these groups will be better at talking ordinary language and not high faluting stuff that confuse and bore people. If they don’t, the Yes Vote could be in danger.

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Cork – Mixed results for FG

I attended the majority of the count for the 6 city wards in Cork on Saturday evening and night. The Fine Gael result on the south side was excellent! With us gaining a seat in the South East ward of the city. Unfortunately while the Fine Gael vote was up on the Northside aswell, Joe O’Callaghan lost the seat in the North West which was previously held by Colm Burke.

North West went from a 5 seater to a 4 seater so it was going to be a tough battle for all involved. While Joe did poll in 4th with 805 votes (down from 884 in 04) he was beaten in the last count by Tony Fitzgerald of Fianna Fail on the last count thanks to transfers from his running mate John Sheehan.

The Workers Party gained their first seat on Cork City Council. They won a seat in the North East of the City. The North East count was very interesting as on the 1st count 3 candidates were within a wisker of the quota, which was 1096. They were John Kelleher (Lab -1024), Tim Brosnan (FF – 1019) and Dara Murphy (FG – 1011).

In North Central Patricia Gosch held the seat despite the FG vote been down 2% in the ward. Something needs to be done on the northside of Cork to get FG up where it should be.

The Southside was a different matter. In Cork South East  Des Cahill a first time FG candidate and Laura McGonigle were elected on the first count alongside Labours Dennis O’Flynn. This was a fantastic results which helped to bring Jim Corr in also meaning the Fine Gael gained a seat in the ward.

In South West John Buttimer topped the poll with over 2000 votes. He was nearly the highest vote getter in the city, but he was beaten by Mick Barry of the Socialist Party by 26 votes. Barry Keane polled exceptionally well on First preferences and in fact was leading the Lord Mayor Brian Birmingham on the first count. Unfortunately Buttimers transfers favoured the Lord Mayor and Keane was eliminated, getting the Lord Mayor elected on his transfers. Maybe in five years time we can get the third seat.

In South Central Emmet O’Halloran was elected to the 2nd seat on the 4th count. That was a nail biting wait as on the elimination of Billy MacGill (FG) and Mary Ryder (GP) Emmet needed 250 votes to reach quota, while Mick Finn (Ind) only needed 114 votes. I was sure we were going to get the 3rd seat, but Mick Finn only got 90 transfers, while Emmet got 250 meaning he was bang on quota and was elected! There is hope for a 2nd Fine Gael seat in five years time, and who knows, it could be me running for it 😉

So Fine Gael’s total of 8 seats on Cork City Council remains unchanged and stays the largest party on City Council.

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7 Irish MEP Candidates sign the ILGA Pledge

ILGA-Europe (International Lesbian and Gay Association – Europe) have a petition for MEP candidates on its website.

ILGA-Europe is calling upon candidates for the European Parliament elections 2009 to sign this pledge to promote equality and to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in their role as member of the European Parliament.

The 7 Irish MEP Candidates are:

  • Nessa Childers (Labour – Ireland East)
  • Pronsias De Rossa MEP (Labour – Ireland Dublin)
  • Mary Lou McDonald (Sinn Fein – Ireland Dublin)
  • Dan Boyle (Green – Ireland South)
  • Susan O’Keefe (Labour – Ireland North-West)
  • Alan Kelly (Labour – Ireland South)
  • Joe Higgins (Socialist Party – Ireland Dublin)

Fair play to them for signing it. Susan O’Keeffe’s comment was really touching:

NO MORE PLEDGES

I PLEDGE TO WORK TOWARDS THE DAY WHEN NO MORE PLEDGES LIKE THIS ONE WILL BE REQUIRED. WE ARE EQUAL AND THAT’S ALWAYS WORTH FIGHTING FOR.

(Caps aren’t mine)

She makes a good point.

See who signed in your country

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