Full coverage of the EU election 2014

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Full coverage of the EU election 2014 Empty Full coverage of the EU election 2014

Post  Sirop14 on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:23 pm

Elections 2014: Europe at a crossroads

The 2014 European Parliament elections come at a pivotal time for the European Union. Europe is in a period of existential discontent after years of economic turbulence, and Europeans are increasingly directing their ire at the EU. Given the sour mood, this election may bring a record number of Eurosceptics to the Parliament who could bring EU lawmaking to a halt.

This is not where Europhiles had hoped to be in 2014. MEPs have for years been planning a new dimension to the elections – putting candidates for European Commission president on the ballot – as a way of increasing voter turnout and boosting the EU's democratic legitimacy. The nominees, representing each political group, will participate in debates ahead of the election and spell out not only what they would do as Commission President but also what their political group would do in the European Parliament over the next five years.

“This time it's different” is the refrain from those promoting the Parliament's 2014 elections. For years the builders of the European project have bemoaned that voting for the EU's only directly-elected institution, which comes every five years, has in many countries been almost entirely determined by national issues that have little to do with the EU. Now Europhiles may at long last get their wish – a European Union election in which more voters will show up to the polls with European issues on their minds. For the Europhiles, their pleasure at this prospect will be tempered by the realisation that many voters are more likely to be motivated by animus toward the EU than love of it.

Turnout apprehension

This is the difficult reality faced by the EU. If the 2014 election sees a continuation of the long-standing trend of lower and lower turnout it will undermine the Parliament's claim to democratic legitimacy.

A turnout that is as bad as, or worse than, the 2009 level (43%) would be considered a failure. Anything below 50% would be less than respectable. At a time of economic crisis, it will not be possible for EU policymakers to claim that a low turnout indicates widespread acceptance of the status quo. For the European Parliament, a low turnout would suggest that voters do not believe that the Parliament offers any meaningful answers to the problems that they are undoubtedly encountering.

Europeans united against Europe

And yet the prospect of a high turnout also fills the Europhiles with some dread. They know that a large increase in turnout may be driven by anti-European feeling, resulting in an influx of Eurosceptics. The Economist has dubbed these various far-right nationalists and libertarians as a “European tea party”, alluding to their potential to shut down European lawmaking in the same way that the Tea Party Republicans have blocked lawmaking in the United States and even shut down the federal government.

Far-right Eurosceptic parties are now in talks about forming a new group in the European Parliament, a sort of ‘nationalist international'. A meeting between Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has sparked much speculation about whether or not these diverse parties can really work together. Attempts to unite the far right in the European Parliament in the past have failed.

Opinion polls indicate that Le Pen's National Front party could be the largest French party in the next European Parliament. They have also indicated that the UK Independence Party, which calls for a British exit from the EU, could be the largest British party. As these parties have gained traction, mainstream parties have tried to chase after their voters by stressing some of the same themes, particularly concern over immigration.

It is unclear how the rise of Euroscepticism will affect the relative fortunes of the main European political parties. Conventional wisdom might lead us to expect that the centre-left should do well at a time of economic crisis when Europe is dominated by centre-right governments. Yet aside from their win in France in 2012, Europe's centre-left parties have not seen many victories in national elections. Voters have continued to back the centre-right, notably in Spain and Germany. But the rising Eurosceptic parties may steal voters away from the centre-right. ALDE, the Parliament's political grouping of Liberals, is expected to implode – losing droves of MEPs in Germany and the UK where the FDP and Liberal Democrats have become unpopular. Opinion polling also indicates that the Green group will lose seats.

Headline candidates

In an attempt to bind together the European Parliament elections with the nomination process for the post of European Commission president, this year a new procedure has been introduced in which the European political groups will select nominees for president, with the implication that member states will appoint the nominee from whichever political group wins the most seats in the Parliament elections. The Commission president would therefore have been personally endorsed by the plurality of European voters. These nominees will stand as figureheads during the election, articulating not only what they would do as Commission president, but also what their political group would do in the Parliament. Proponents of this system cite the Lisbon Treaty as the genesis for this idea.

The truth is that the treaty text leaves much up to interpretation. It states that “taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations, the European Council...shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission”. It goes on: “This candidate shall be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members.”

Some people, such as Viviane Reding, European commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, argue that what this must mean is that the European Council should put forward the candidate nominated by the political party that wins the most votes. However there are others, notably in the European Council, who dispute this and are looking for some margin of manoeuvre depending on the results of the elections.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has insisted that the member states are under no obligation to select the nominee of the largest political group. She is aware that the Commission presidency is only one element in a round of bartering between member states over the EU's four ‘top jobs' – President of the European Commission, President of the European Council, President of the European Parliament and EU foreign policy chief. Some positions outside the EU may also be part of this horse-trading, e.g. secretary-general of NATO and perhaps even secretary-general of the United Nations.

If the centre-left emerges as the voters' favourite in May it is quite possible that the leaders in the European Council, dominated by the centre-right, would veto the voters' choice. But this would set them up for an institutional battle with the European Parliament, which must confirm their nomination.

Ironically the new procedure of each political group nominating candidates for the presidency of the European Commission, which was in part meant to give the EU more democratic legitimacy, could easily devolve into an ugly and embarrassing institutional battle that could delegitimize the EU in the eyes of many voters.

An uncertain future

An ideal version of the European elections would be decided by voters assessing the performance of the individual MEPs and their parties, expressing what direction voters want to see Europe take in the coming five years. Voters interested in making an informed choice have myriad resources at their disposal, for instance new apps launched by the independent group VoteWatch last year that both track voting history and advise on how citizens should vote based on their political beliefs.

With low levels of knowledge among the general public of what the EU is and how it works, stoking a policy debate on European issues has always been a challenge. But this year, interest in the European question is high, even if knowledge of EU affairs still is not. The coming months will set the stage for what could be a history-making poll in May, with profound consequences for the future of Europe.



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Full coverage of the EU election 2014 Empty EU Elections 2014 |

Post  Sirop14 on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:39 pm

EU Elections 2014 | EurActiv

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Full coverage of the EU election 2014 Empty French government under threat after election blow, amid anger over economy, unemployment

Post  Sirop14 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:30 am

In German " when somebody say/tell you do "Sie sind dick Kopf / Sie ein dicken Kopf sind" President Francois Holland is just that - the Party of President Sarkozy, that of Front National and certain in France and Europe - alone the Socialist and Francois Holland would not have come to Power - those who know and work such important European and Global issues came to the help of France and its people. Yet the attitude of President Francois Hollande - we are in Europe so what if a bunch of witches practice witchcraft and brings president in Power or remove him. It is the good Rights of the people/Citizens.

Unlike in Ukraine where those reverted to Violence to change and come to Power.

We knew that President Francois Hollande and his party would be trashed/beaten at the pool because of their arrogance and terrible attitude - we and those involved who had helped them to come to power - what we have been writing about the economy in particular. Forget the blasted French media the pooh the write about most of the time.

President Sarkozy and the Front national Camp know and are very aware of this situation. For instance we had demanded for an appointment with Segolan Royal to have a frank talk and what took [lace it is all on our forums. President Francois Holland and the socialist think others owe then this duty to elect them - in this century they must be very mad/cannot think properly.

French government under threat after election blow, amid anger over economy, unemployment

PARIS – French President Francois Hollande is preparing a probable shake-up of his unpopular government after his Socialist Party suffered losses in nationwide municipal elections.

Disappointment with the Socialists' handling of the economy drove many voters to conservative or anti-immigrant far-right candidates.

Hollande is having lunch Monday with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, whose job is on the line and said himself that the elections were "a defeat for the government." His government has failed to fulfill its promises to cut France's more than 10 percent unemployment and boost growth, which was just 0.3 percent last year, according to figures released Monday.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls is among names circulating as a possible replacement prime minister if Hollande decides to fire Ayrault. Changes are especially expected in the Finance Ministry.


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LIVE: 'French PM wanted to quit over poll losses'


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Full coverage of the EU election 2014 Empty La presse européenne et l'«humiliation» subie par Hollande

Post  Sirop14 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:38 am

La presse européenne et l'«humiliation» subie par Hollande

REVUE DE PRESSE - Les journaux européens qualifient d'«historique» la défaite des socialistes aux élections municipales et s'interrogent sur les contradictions de la politique du président français.


Les résultats des élections municipales 2014

Municipales 2014 : «Hollande tiraillé entre l'aile gauche et l'aile droite du PS»

La dernière chance de François Hollande

La dette publique française frôle désormais les d'euros 2000 milliards

Municipales : pourquoi les politiques parlent comme des consultants ?


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Full coverage of the EU election 2014 Empty Re: Full coverage of the EU election 2014

Post  Sirop14 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:45 am

Front National jubelt über "bestes Ergebnis der Geschichte"

Die Versuche der Sozialisten, ihre Verluste bei den Kommunalwahlen zu begrenzen, haben nicht gefruchtet. Nun wächst die Angst vor der nächsten Schlappe bei der Europawahl.



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