Giving Europe’s Citizens a Voice

Belgian Liberal Guy Verhoftstadt to chair conference on the future of Europe


The course is set: Last Wednesday the European Parliament adopted its position paper on the Conference on the Future of Europe by a large majority. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had already announced this in her political guidelines for July 2019. Continue reading

Why Brexit Will Not Happen and How the EP Might Help

As seen on The Parliament Magazine 19th October


As the results of the UK’s 2016 referendum came in, my strong sense was – and remains – that Brexit will not happen. To confirm such a sentiment in a week in which Boris Johnson may triumph at the European Council might appear to invite ridicule. Yet the fundamentals remain unchanged. Continue reading

Die Kunst des Möglichen: Die EU und der Syrische Bürgerkrieg

Verglichen mit den USA und Russland ist die EU viel mehr von dem Bürgerkrieg in Syrien betroffen. Nichtdestotrotz spielen beide – Russland und die USA – eine weitaus wichtigere Rolle in den syrischen Friedensverhandlungen als die EU. In der Syrienfrage ist die Interessendivergenz innerhalb der EU nämlich zu groß, als dass die EU eine zentrale Rolle in möglichen Friedensverhandlungen übernehmen könnte. Als der schlichthin größte Entwicklungshilfegeber der Welt kann die EU aber eine andere wichtige außenpolitische Rolle in dem Konflikt im Nahen Osten spielen, und zwar in dem die EU versucht, die Lage in Syriens Nachbarländern Jordanien und Libanon zu stabilisieren. Dies wäre ein Beispiel einer Politik als „Kunst des Möglichen“ für eine EU, die ihre eigenen Stärken und Schwächen kennt. Über das Engagement der EU in beiden Ländern sprach die Hohe Vertreterin der EU für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik Federica Mogherini am 10. Mai im Europaparlament.

Hohe Vertreterin der EU für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik Federica Mogherini. Copyright: European External Action Service/Flickr

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EP members elect committee chairs

Straßburg EP aussenAfter the election of a President, Vice-Presidents and Quaestors of the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week, parliamentary committess convened on Monday in Brussels to elect chairpersons and their deputies for the next two and a half years.

Legislative work of the European Parliament is done in 20 standing committees and two sub-committees. Each committee elects a chair and up to 4 vice-chairs.

Find the list of the new Chairs and Vice-Chairs here.



Transatlantic data protection – the long road to compromise

IMG_1644 (Kopie)The issue over the massive collection of data of foreign nationals’ private phone conversation (German Chancellor prominently among them) was met with outrage across Europe – to the great surprise of many in the US, who, quite matter-of-factly, expect no less of a nation’s intelligence agencies: the surveillance of potential threats abroad. Continue reading

“Supranational challenges require the kind of supranational responses which individual states can no longer offer”, interview with Sir Graham Watson

graham_watson_2011Sir Graham Watson, MEP, President of the ALDE Party, offers his view on the upcoming elections for the European Parliament.

1) The European elections are coming up, however, many citizens have no clear idea of who / which party / what content they really choose with their vote – how do you explain your electorate why the European elections are important? What is the message with which you and your liberal colleagues run for MEP?

The European elections have become more important in view of the new powers of the EP and the EU introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. It is strange therefore that participation in the elections has fallen. I try to inform my electors of the influence the EU has over their lives and convince them of the importance on having a say over decisions taken in their names. I point out that supranational challenges such as world population growth, climate change and internationally organised crime require the kind of supranational responses which individual nation states can no longer offer. Continue reading