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Friday, December 04, 2009

Glad to see our MEPs are focussed on what really matters

This won't be news to most people, but Members of the European Parliament get up to a great deal of stuff that goes pretty much completely unnoticed.

Today the slightly underground French news service Agence Europe reports that the European Parliament's political families are negotiating the membership and creation of 24 to 26 so-called "intergroups" for the Parliament's new term of office. These strange groups are made up of MEPs from the different political groupings and apparently focus on single issues, such as Tibet or anti-racism. The groups are set up if they receive the backing of three or more groupings in the Parliament.

For more on the secrecy and the bearing of lobbying on these groups see here.

Agence Europe tells us that the Christian Democrat-dominated European People's Party (EPP) (the group the Tories have now left) has submitted a list of "priority issues" that in its opinion warrant the formation of an intergroup. The list includes issues such as "small and medium-sized enterprises", "The Family and Children's Rights" and the all-encompassing "Youth".

Among the list is a proposal for an intergroup on "The Santiago of Compostela Pilgrimage". The pilgrimage, also known as the Way of St James, is a collection of old routes which cover the whole of Europe, all of them ending up at Santiago de Compostela in north west Spain.

What exactlty do they want such a group to discuss? The pilgrimage has lasted for a 1,000 years so far without the help of MEPs.

It it really one of the top 25 issues or challenges EU citizens face? Also, why propose a group that so obviously focuses on one particular religion? Why not a group looking at European Muslims carrying out the Hajj?

The EPP's proposal is obviously not a big deal in itself but it's a microcosm of the the backward-looking and introspective culture that dominates EU politics. The desire for a nostalgic homogenous European culture closely based on 'Christian values'. You might argue it's this failure to embrace diversity of opinion, attitudes, and cultures that hinders the EU's ability to look outward to the rest of the world and compete with emerging nations.

Surely MEPs have more pressing things to spend our money on?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surely its the same as All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) in Westminster?