Approved Rules of Procedure a threat to Parliament’s democratic rights

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GUE/NGL MEPs have spoken out against the adoption of the ‘Revision of the Rules of Procedure at the European Parliament today over what they regard as undemocratic and unconstitutional proposals.

This came during a full debate on the report which had been requested by GUE/NGL just prior to Tuesday’s vote.

Such is the far-reaching consequence of the proposals, what had been billed as a reworking of the Parliament’s constitution is in effect another way for the big political groups to shut out their smaller rivals. It also limits MEPs’ individual roles and rights at the EU’s only directly-elected body.

Speaking at the plenary, German MEP and GUE/NGL shadow on the Corbett report, Helmut Scholz, was adamant this new code of conduct is counterproductive and undemocratic:

“After two years of work by the working group, we’ve come up with over 1400 amendments but this is simply being waived through without discussion.”

“Despite the openness of the working process, it is still unsatisfactory because all of it was overshadowed by a power struggle between the larger and smaller groups.”

“The Rules of Procedure are a constitution in all but name for our house. It sets out the framework for our work and duty as parliamentarians, just as our founding fathers had desired to create a platform for democracy - not limit it,” said Scholz.

“Furthermore, if efficiency is our primary objectives for internal rules then this will be counterproductive,” he added.

Italian MEP and GUE/NGL candidate for next month’s presidential election at the European Parliament, Eleonora Forenza, was equally concerned by the new rules:

“With limits on MEPs’ individual rights and also on how we scrutinise the legislative process, it creates new obstacles to smaller political groups like ours.”

“We should always protect the freedom of those who think differently - and this Parliament hasn’t learned the lessons from the recent Italian referendum.”

“We need more - not less - democracy. We need to throw open the windows of this Parliament and hear the call from our citizens. Limiting the time for debate obviously means doing the exact opposite of that,” she argued.

For Portuguese MEP João Ferreira, these new proposals are akin to a coup by the big political groups:

“What’s been cooked up over the last two years on how this Parliament is going to work is basically a kind of coup.”

“It’s going to seriously restrict the ability for MEPs or smaller groups to take the initiative. It’s going to concentrate even more powers in the hands of the big political groups.”

“We’re are not just talking about limiting the number of questions MEPs can ask but also the number of resolutions we can table, ability to act in committees and written declarations.”

“This so-called fast-tracked legislative procedure will also restrict MEPs’ abilities to intervene and our rights to scrutinise the work-in-progress.”

“Less democracy, less pluralism - that’s what the big groups are seeking to impose,” he argued.

Cross posted from  CUE/NGL: