France’s politicians are holding out for transnational lists for the 2019 European elections, despite opposition from the European Parliament. EURACTIV.fr reports.
Members of Parliament from La République en Marche (LREM) are facing opposition to the idea transnational lists in the draft law on the election of MEPs.
With their parliamentary majority, LREM MPs had no trouble rejecting the amendments of their Les Républicains colleagues, to remove the clause supported by the French President, during a vote in the National Assembly on 14 February.
For Les Républicains, keeping transnational lists is tantamount to a denial of democracy, as the European Parliament voted against such lists on 7 February.
“A democratic debate already took place and resulted in a gap of more than 100 votes against transnational lists,” said the EPP MEP Franck Proust, whose political group led the opposition against the project in the Parliament.
However, for LREM the debate is not over yet as last week’s vote was only advisory, and the Council is due to hold an informal meeting on the matter on 23 February.
For Pervenche Berès, a socialist MEP in favour of transnational lists, the result of the French MPs vote is “all for nothing”, as any modifications in the European electoral code require unanimity in the Council.
Especially as a number of countries, particularly members of the Visegrad group have already made their opposition known.
The Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, also stated that the project would be impracticable by 2019: “Following the vote at the Parliament, I do not see how it could be done by 2019.”
In a document published on 14 February in preparation for the informal summit next week, the Commission pointed out the obstacles to these constituencies at a European level, nevertheless stating that it remained “sympathetic” to the idea.
“Transnational lists are utopian”, said Franck Proust adding that even with the approval of the Council, they would not be ready by 2019. “On which campaign accounts would they be based, for example? These lists are an image, a symbol.”
For Yannick Jadot, MEP of the Greens/EFA, the draft law on election procedure is not just about next year’s election. By writing the reform into French law, it would leave the option open for European elections after 2019 as well.
“The notion of a separate European democracy, in addition to the 28 national democracies of the member states, needs to be accepted for the notion of transnational lists to work. This is far from being the case in many of the countries,” said the MEP.
But the draft law still has many obstacles to face, as after the final vote at the Assembly it could still be examined by the Constitutional Council.
Les Républicains MP Pierre-Henri Dumont has already announced that his party would appeal the draft law, therefore questioning the legal viability of these lists.