Tag Archives: constitutional affairs

  • Courtesy Gwenael Piaser via Flickr

    Rebutting Richard Aikens

    Richard Aikens has argued that the EU cannot succeed because it will become a federal state that most of its citizens do not want. He makes a number of assumptions and, in my view, latches on to several misconceptions, which I address in this piece.

  • Screenshot JPC

    Challenging false narratives about the European Union

    Speaking in the European Parliament debate on the Evaluation of the Lisbon Treaty (for which I was Rapporteur) to dispel some of the false narratives that opponents of the EU like to peddle.

  • Screenshot JPC

    Interview on Daily Politics

    I was interviewed by Jo Coburn on Friday’s Daily Politics show, discussing the lack of progress with the Brexit negotiations at the crucial June European Council. 

  • Short Speech in Future of Europe Debate

    Short speech during the Future of Europe debate on 30th May 2018

  • Courtesy Flickr

    Democracy Rules OK in the EU

    I responded to John Redwood‘s bogus claims in The Yorkshire Post that Brexit is justified because it is somehow undemocratic for 28 democracies to work together in the EU.  (Redwood will try anything to avoid discussing economic damage of Brexit!)

  • MEPs vote that ‘sufficient progress’ has not been made on Brexit talks

    MEPs today voted, rightly in my view, that there has not yet been ‘sufficient progress’ in the Brexit negotiations. As Acting Leader of the EPLP, I have issued this statement and here is my speech in the parliament’s debate:

  • The Corbett Report: Facts not Fiction

    A wildly inaccurate UKIP press release, picked up and sensationalised by the Express Online, has been published on the day that the EU parliament voted overwhelmingly to adopt rule changes that would increase transparency and efficiency, as well as holding all MEPs to a higher standard of behaviour than before. Given their less than impressive […]

  • courtesy Paaskivi via Wikimedia Commons

    How Britain shaped Parliament

    To coincide with the publication of The European Parliament in its ninth edition, John Harper Publishing have commissioned a series of studies in the evolution of the institution.

  • EU flags

    Some superstate!

    Yet another misleading allegation by the Brexit brigade is that the European Union is on an escalator, heading for a centralised superstate. They ignore the fact that the basic rulebook of the European Union, the treaties, is agreed unanimously by member states. There can be no increase in the powers of the European Union unless […]

  • courtesy Amio Cajander via Flickr

    MEPs back Labour proposals for stronger Commissioner confirmation hearings

    The European Parliament voted today for a more rigorous process of confirmation hearings for Commissioners, giving MEPs more power to cross-examine nominees. The proposals from the European Parliament constitutional affairs committee, in a report authored by Labour MEP Richard Corbett, include allowing follow-up questions in the event of non-answers; second hearings in case the answers […]

  • Speaking in plenary

    Introducing Commission hearings reform

    I spoke in Parliament to introduce a package of reforms to the way Commissioner candidates are approved by MEPs in future.

  • Commissioner hearings

    “We need more female Commissioners in the future”, say S&Ds

    In the future, EU governments should present one male and one female candidate to the post of Commissioner in order to enable the President of the Commission to ensure gender balance in the European Commission. This is one of the key recommendations of a resolution drafted by Labour MEP Richard Corbett and approved today by […]

  • Photo courtesy of the European Parliament

    Commissioner hearings: what change has Parliament secured?

    With the vote of confidence by the European Parliament (by 423 to 209) allowing the Juncker Commission to take office, it’s a good moment to ask what the Parliament has achieved after two weeks of intensive questioning, investigation and cross-examination of proposed commissioners. The media focus was on whether one or the other candidate would […]

  • Me in Commissioner-designate Vella's hearing

    MEPs keep the Commission in line

    As a member of the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee, I’ve been observing the commissioner hearings to see how the procedure can be improved in the future. The process, and my report, is yet to be finalised — but I have written some of my initial thoughts in an article for the Parliament Magazine: When it […]

  • Image from Wikimedia Commons

    Weasels, wikis and the Beeb

    A rather dubious claim has crept into quite a few recent BBC articles on the process for appointing the new European Commission: The Commission is seen as the most powerful EU institution, as it drafts EU laws, ensures compliance with EU treaties and negotiates far-reaching trade deals with international partners. “The most powerful EU institution”? […]

  • Photo by Calum Hutchinson

    Scotland and the EU: the facts

    I am often asked whether an independent Scotland can become an EU member. The answer is simple: it can, but not without going through a lengthy procedure with several potential pitfalls. The EU treaties list the member states. Scotland is not on that list. To become a member state with a seat at the table […]

  • Image by Wikipedia user Zinneke licensed under Creative Commons

    Vetting Juncker’s new Commission

    Putting together the next Commission isn’t as vital as you might think. After all, Commissioners don’t make EU laws — they only provide the first drafts, for elected governments and MEPs to debate and decide. But there’s still been a fair bit of fuss among the Brussels media (and predictably almost none in Britain) about […]

  • Strasbourg hemicycle

    A fair share of MEPs

    One interesting issue that I didn’t mention in my discussion of the outvoting debate a couple of days ago is the question of the ratio of MEPs to population for each country. The Telegraph seems to be suggesting that there’s a problem: Britain has around ten per cent of the seats in Brussels, and is […]

  • Image licensed by EPP via Flickr and Wikipedia

    Tusk: defeat or victory for Cameron?

    After all the fuss about Juncker, it was striking how little comment there was in Britain about the choice of Donald Tusk to be the next President of the European Council (the person chosen by prime ministers and presidents to chair their “summit” meetings). BBC TV news the next morning didn’t even mention it in […]

  • Photo courtesy of World Economic Forum/Youssef Meftah

    Who should be President of the European Council?

    Who should be the next President of the European Council? Beyond the headline talk of the political, geographical, gender and other balances to be found for top appointments, there’s the little matter of competence and ability to actually do the job. The European Council is the most difficult EU institution to chair. It can only […]

  • Photo courtesy of European Parliament

    Hill for Commissioner?

    After a good deal of speculation, David Cameron has unexpectedly nominated a little-known peer, Lord Hill, as Britain’s next European Commissioner. This is a bizarre choice. Following his car-crash of a negotiating strategy over Juncker’s nomination, Cameron desperately needs to claw back some British influence and credibility in the eyes of neighbouring countries by securing […]

  • Photo courtesy of European Parliament

    The point of democracy

    I predicted yesterday that UKIP would start bleating when their group’s candidates for a committee chair didn’t receive support from other political groups in the European Parliament. On Twitter, they are now claiming this breaks “EU rules” and that democracy requires them to be given a committee chair! So let’s get something straight. There is […]

  • courtesy EPP via Wikimedia

    Juncker for Europe?

    Some people have expressed surprise about Labour’s reluctance to endorse Juncker as the new president of the European Commission, not least given my criticisms of how Cameron has handled the issue. But Labour MEPs are hardly likely to rush to support the candidate of the centre-right. The candidate of Merkel, Rajoy and other conservative Prime […]