Category Archives: European Parliament

For Google, political backing is only a campaign cheque away

The tech giant made political donations to three out of four Members of the US Congress who wrote to the European Parliament to warn against search engine “unbundling”. It is rare for members of the US Congress to agree on anything these days. So when two senior Congressmen and two senior US Senators, two Democrats […]
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MEPs tell France’s new Europe minister: give us the right to decide where we meet

Over 100 MEPs have signed an open letter to the new French Europe Minister, Jean Leonetti, calling on the French government to let the European Parliament decide where it meets. The letter points out that an absolute majority of MEPs are now on the record as supporting a single seat. Last month, France launched legal […]
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The day Martin Schulz forgot to vote

Yesterday Martin Schulz, leader of the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament (EP), formally announced his candidacy for President of the EP. In turn, Joseph Daul, leader of the rival European People’s Party (EPP), said his group would give Schulz its backing, saying it was “respecting” a “technical” deal between the […]
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Dutch government wants to negotiate on EP seat

Dutch European Affairs Minister Ben Knapen today (16 March) said the Dutch government backs a single seat for the European Parliament, and that he will raise the issue in the context of the revision of the Financial Perspectives. In written answers to questions put to him by Han ten Broeke, Member of Parliament for Prime […]
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Vote on financial transactions tax is a sign of the times

When I was a Member of the European Parliament, back in prehistoric 1999-2004 (before the collapse of financial markets, Arab dictatorships and Japanese nuclear facilities), support for a financial transactions tax (FTT, or ‘Tobin tax’ as it was then better known) was limited to a hardcore of Socialists, Greens and former Communists. Last week, the […]
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French concern about MEPs’ workload is touching

The French government has officially announced it’s taking the European Parliament to the European Court of Justice over its decision, last week, to reduce the number of weeks it meets in Strasbourg every year. Read the statement issued today (15 March) by the French government (in French) here. In the statement France says that, following […]
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Strasbourg doesn’t get it: this isn’t personal

I’ve just returned from three days in Strasbourg, where MEPs voted by a surprisingly large majority to further reduce the European Parliament’s presence in the Alsatian capital. To general astonishment and almost universal delight, 357 MEPs – a majority of 104 – backed an amendment by British Conservative MEP Ashley Fox to reduce from 12 […]
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A single seat for the EP? Here’s what governments, MEPs and journalists have to say

On 10 February my report on the seat of the European Parliament was launched at a press conference hosted by Edward McMillan-Scott MEP and Alexander Alvaro MEP. Here are some of the official and unofficial responses to the report: A UK Foreign Office spokesman told the Daily Telegraph and the Express: “The report not only […]
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A tale of two cities

Today I presented the report I produced for the Chairman of the informal cross-party Brussels-Strasbourg Seat Study group, European Parliament (EP) Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott, on the vexed issue of the Seat of the European Parliament. The European Parliament holds most of its meetings in Brussels, but by a quirk of history it is forced to […]
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