TELEGRAPH Blogs - Dan Hannan
European Parliament bars Euro-sceptic Groups
MEPs took yet another step towards arbitrary rule this afternoon, adopting new rules designed explicitly to prevent Euro-sceptics from forming a group.
The European Parliament operates a corporatist system: in order to move amendments, propose debates or qualify for campaign finance, MEPs are required to join trans-national Groups. To incorporate such a Group, you need at least 20 Euro-MPs from five states. This means that, alongside the big Groups - the Christian Democrats, Liberals, Socialists, Communists and Greens - there is also a little bloc of Euro-sceptics called Independence and Democracy. There was also, briefly, a Euro-fascist alliance (erroneously termed "far right"), which fell apart because its block-headed members couldn't stand one another.
The new rules, drawn up by the Labour MEP (and touchy blogger) Richard Corbett, would raise the thresholds to 25 MEPs and seven states, making it harder for dissidents to register. What are they so scared of, these Euro-fanatics? After all, we sceptics represent no more than 50 or 60 MEPs out of 785. Why not treat us as an Official Opposition, thereby demonstrating their fair-mindedness and bestowing a measure of legitimacy on their institution? Because they can't bring themselves to do it. They hate us too much. Or, more specifically, they project on to us the contempt they feel for their electorates, but dare not express. Unable to be openly aggressive about the "No" majorities in their constituencies, they take out their frustration on the minority of MEPs who speak for that majority.
So determined were they to adopt the Corbett Report that they broke their own rules to bring it before the plenary session. The report had been rejected in committee, which should have rendered it null. But, disgracefully, and in breach of all the regulations, the Euro-fanatical committee chairman disregarded that vote and brought an amended version forward. Not that anyone will care: I have blogged repeatedly about the readiness with which the European Parliament tears up its own rulebook, and been met by a shrug of such indifference as to be positively Gallic.
Bof! The EU is despotic. Et alors?