Citizens deserve an EU Parliament president that signifies change

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Sajjad Karim MEP [European Parliament]

Sajjad Karim [European Parliament]

European voters asked for greater transparency and accountability in the EU institutions; Parliament should respond by electing a president that signifies change, Sajjad Karim writes in an open letter.

Sajjad Karim is the European Parliament presidential candidate for the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and Conservative MEP for the North West of England.

MEPs return to Brussels this week after a weekend contemplating where Europe should be heading. The vast majority of members will by now be aware that in their absence a deal was struck which will have the effect of making our Parliament subservient to Council and Commission. A deal which they will be told they have no choice but to support. Sadly, many will fall for it.

This closed door backroom deal, excluding all but the net personal beneficiaries, will further alienate an electorate that has already had enough of being ignored and excluded.

The results of the European elections reflect the frustrations of an electorate that were pushed towards political extremes out of sheer disillusionment.

It seems having consulted the citizens, we are choosing yet again to scold them like naughty schoolchildren who simply do not deserve to be heard. They want us to change our ways, to show greater transparency, accountability and to respond to their concerns; the basic attributes of any democratic relationship. Yet we continue to give them more of the same – exclusionary backroom locked door deals.

Having failed to learn in time for the elections, the European political families have an opportunity to at least heed the voice of the electorate and react now, as we set our political course. Rather than ignore the lessons of the election as an inconvenience standing in the way of business as usual, we must grasp the opportunity to show that the European Union can change.

This is why it is even more important we take this opportunity to elect a new European Parliament President that signifies change, who is not from the same mould, from the same names, faces and ideas. We should be looking for a track record of service and reforms and an ability and willingness to address the unfair perception of an intolerant Europe. Or alternatively, we can have the usual bartering and back room deals that resonate so negatively with European citizens and then wonder why the EU is so disconnected from those it purports to represent.

The choice is ours. Today our citizens need their MEPs to be brave and visionary. It is our shared future that is ultimately at stake. In the face of a unique opportunity will Europe turn its back, navel gaze for years and again stare in shock at election results in five years time?

Subscribe to our newsletters