Posted on 17. January 2012

by Apollonia Khan

apollonia-khan-2011-2012-modifiedThe European Parliament, since its election at the universal suffrage in 1979, has gained more and more power in the European decision-making process. It fought for it during the years by bringing forward a strong and valid point: it is legitimate because it embodies the European citizens, being the voice of the “Intérêt général” of the EU as a whole. I would like to question the reality of those principals. The devil hides in the details.

The elections of our European MEPs occur at a sub-national level, which leads to a series of problems. First, MEPs’ campaigns deal with European matters but are very bound to the territories’ political framework, or at least to the national one. Rachida Dati, for instance, was “punished” and sent to France’s new Saint-Hélène, i.e. the European Parliament. No need for a great, real European campaign addressing European issues in order to step foot in the European Assembly. The legitimacy is bound to the territory, i.e to the region. What about  representing the EU as a whole? Then Rachida Dati comes in Brussels and sits with her other PPE-DE friends, in the seats reserved for the party. Or should we call it a coalition? Which leads me to my second point.

What is the PPE-DE really? What is its identity as a political party, its ideas, its values, its program? A patchwork of very broad and different national parties that have found themselves together against – let’s stress the word – others. This negative way of forming a body makes it hard to be convinced by; too much consensus, too many core differences, no substantial identity to be believed in. Many other parties, have the same logic, and often the same results.

Lets go back to our basic principal, shall we. MEPs represent the European “intérêt général”, they are the voice of the European citizens.

Now how could they, since a) the national framework influences the European elections  because they are based on already well-structured territories and b) major groups in the EP are like political Frankensteins, composed of different national body-parts?

Changing the process of European election by breaking the pre-existing circumscriptions and making new transnational ones would force political parties to adapt, to finally address the European matters for themselves and to, in the end, get to a European political landscape. National parties would become obsolete because they would be unknown to a parcel of their transnational public. Without an electorate, they would have no chance of winning whatsoever. This would perhaps lead to building a real European political landscape, to a more political Europe, even to a more representative one.