The EU Parliament is expected to vote on the next President of the EU Parliament on Wednesday. Manfred Weber (CSU), the lead candidate of the Conservatives in the EU Elections 2019, could take office as part of a “personnel package” that could also include Social Democrat Timmermans as the new EU Commission President. There are also cross-party negotiations taking place on a political “programme”, but these have not yet been concluded.
Please read the following arguments and give me some feedback on how you see this: Should Mr Weber be elected President of the EU Parliament? This will help me to position myself and explain my position in the group.
The following could speak in favour of Weber’s election as President of the EU Parliament:
- Weber is to be elected “in a package” with Social Democrat Frans Timmermans, who is to become President of the EU Commission. Timmermans has clearly spoken out in the EU Commission against attacks by Eastern European states (Hungary, Poland) on the independence of the judiciary and the media, but also advocates the copyright reform. Part of the “personnel package” is apparently also to be that a Conservative EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner and a Liberal EU Council President.
- As President of the Parliament, Weber may do the least harm among all these posts, and in view of the Conservative election results as the strongest force, he must be given a position.
- Within the CSU, Weber can be considered a moderate.
- The “personnel package” is intended to defend the lead candidate principle, i.e. that one of the lead candidates for the European elections should lead the EU Commission. Justification: This would be the only way for voters to have a say in the process of selecting the President of the Commission (counterargument: the “lead candidates” were only eligible in their countries of origin).
Weber’s election to President of the EU Parliament could be disputed:
- The inter-party, ongoing negotiations on political content have not yet resulted in an acceptable understanding that could justify the support of a “personnel package”. Weber’s EPP, in particular, does not show willingness to support real change.
- Weber’s EPP stands for a repressive policy of building a “fortress Europe” and internal armament (“European FBI”). Conservatives are pushing for more mass surveillance (e.g. data retention, passenger data collection, bank data collection).
- In the dispute over copyright reform and the introduction of upload filters, Weber tried to move the day of the vote in order to make the protests announced throughout Europe meaningless – even while publicly claiming the opposite. Weber’s EPP also urges the use of upload filters for filtering “terrorist content”.
- Weber is in favour of abolishing the right to anonymous expression of opinion on the Internet (obligation to use clear names).
- Under Weber’s party leadership, the MEPs of the Fidesz party of Hungarian Prime Minister Orban continue to belong to the conservative EPP parliamentary group in the EU parliament, although Fidesz is currently transforming Hungary into an “illiberal democracy”.
- Weber’s party, the CSU, can only be described as right-wing populist.
- Even if the proposed “personnel package” may be the “lesser evil” among the realistic solutions, it doesn’t have to be us who help it achieve a majority.
What do you think? Should Mr Weber be elected President of the EU Parliament?
Photo: European Parliament from EU, Debate of lead candidates for the European Commission presidency (40894703423), excerpt, CC BY 2.0