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Diary - New-look Euro Parliament

Dominic Hughes

The newly-elected European Parliament has held its first session this week, with MEPs vying for political influence. Half are novices in the Strasbourg assembly, the rest have been re-elected.

The BBC's Dominic Hughes kept a diary as he rubbed shoulders with MEPs, gauging the mood as they settled in and forged new alliances. Your comments appear at the bottom.

Thursday, 1215 French time

Well this opening session of the Parliament has wrapped up and we'll not be back until September. Thanks for all your comments - a really lively debate and great to see so many of you getting involved. Here are just a few thoughts.

Vincent Garton, thanks for your thoughtful post. Your point that the problem with the EP is that it can only approve legislation is true up to a point. But don't forget MEPs can and do also amend legislation in committee (which is where all the real dirty work is done), and that can make a big difference to the shape of the final law. There are also "own initiative reports" which can lead to legislation. Also there wouldn't be such a heavy lobbyist presence around the Parliament if they felt it was totally powerless - they certainly wouldn't waste their money on a useless institution! And of course if - I said IF, people! - Lisbon gets approved then the EP gets an even bigger say on more areas.

Mark Ambridge makes a good point about the workload of domestic MPs. That's something I've picked up from colleagues at Westminster. Backbenchers apparently feel underemployed if they're not on a good committee.

Allan says we should just have a trade relationship with Europe, which is the UKIP line. But wouldn't that leave us having to meet EU rules and standards without having any say on what those rules were? Is there a convincing argument about how we could manage to do that?

Ludoboy from Guildford, you may well be right. I've heard a few Tory names whispered as being very unhappy with the way things have turned out. But not everyone is in Edward McMillan-Scott's position of probably retiring in five years, after 30 years (I think) in the job. Jumping ship for them would be a really big deal.

And finally Aidan O'Sullivan - sorry for the UK focus but we did talk at length about Jerzy Buzek and indeed Michal Kaminski (a big week for the Poles!). But to be honest no-one else could match the drama of the Tories this week!

Thanks again for all your comments - it's been great to interweb with you!

Wednesday, 1940 French time

A final update on the Tory woes for today - Edward McMillan-Scott has been booted out of the European Conservatives and Reformists group. Hardly a surprise, given that he trashed party discipline and has accused the group leader - Michal Kaminski - of a neo-fascist past. Mr Kaminski denies that and describes himself as a "convinced conservative, a convinced democrat". He says in his youth he was a member of an anti-communist group which - after he left - then became allied to the extreme right. Mr Kaminski described himself as a friend of Israel who has been attacked by members of the far right for being pro-Jewish.

So the day ends with the Tories no longer in control of their own group and a former Conservative leader stripped of the party whip and drummed out of the group. Who'd have thought it? Crazy days in Strasbourg!

Wednesday, 1733 French time

Just been ear-wigging an interview with Edward McMillan-Scott, newly elected Vice President of the European Parliament and independent Conservative MEP (given he's had the party whip withdrawn that seems the best description).

He was pretty damning of the man now leading the European Conservative and Reformists group, the Polish MEP Michal Kaminski. Mr McMillan-Scott said he was still a loyal Tory, but that when Mr Kaminski was named as his group's candidate for vice president he felt compelled to stand against him. He said he regarded Mr Kaminski as an inappropriate choice for vice president and unfit to be leader of a group containing British Tories.

Mr McMillan-Scott said that his views were no secret - he'd told the Conservative leadership in London of his reservations about their Polish colleagues from the Law and Justice Party and particularly Mr Kaminski. But he says his actions were not motivated by personal ambition but were about standing up for Conservative values. And he points out the British now have a respected and experienced MEP as a vice president in the Parliament.

I'm not sure all his erstwhile Conservative colleagues would agree with his analysis. But what is clear is Mr McMillan-Scott's actions have left David Cameron's European policy in tatters and the Conservatives without the effective voice they hoped the new group would give them.

By the way, sorry for not responding to the fantastic comments you've been providing for which many thanks. It's been so busy today I've not had the chance, but I'll do my best to do so in the next few hours.

Wednesday, 1415 French time

Just been to a briefing with the Europe Minister Baroness Kinnock (a former MEP) - who said she would much rather be known simply as Glenys - and a few interesting lines.

First, she said the British government is supporting Tony Blair for the new post of President of the European Council. As far I can tell at this end, this is the first overt confirmation from a UK government minister that Britain is endorsing a Blair candidature for this potentially crucial new post in the EU. (Its creation depends on the Irish approving the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum in October, but that's another story altogether.) The Minister said Mr Blair would have the strength of character to step into the new role - not to mention his experience and profile. But having backed Blair-for-President a few months, are the French going cool on the idea?

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Mr Blair has high-level backing for a possible EU presidency bid

On the troubles facing the Conservatives and their new group, Baroness Kinnock - sorry, Glenys - said it wasn't for her to comment on the internal difficulties of the Tory party but… the ructions in the European Conservatives and Reformists group leave them "isolated from the mainstream in Europe" and reflected badly on UK influence in the Parliament. This was always the danger for the Tories in leaving the EPP.

The more you look at it, the more it seems the Conservatives have been stitched up like a kipper. You definitely get the feeling there has been a settling of old scores with EPP members backing Edward McMillan-Scott for the post of Vice President. Many of them were still fuming at the Conservatives' decision to leave the larger group. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had warned David Cameron he would be left with nothing if he did pull the Tories out of the EPP. It looks like that has come to pass.

Questions are also being asked about the new leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, Michal Kaminski. In Poland he's known as the spin doctor for the country's conservative President Lech Kaczynski, one of the masterminds behind his successful election campaign in 2005. But he'll face some searching questions on his political background and his views on issues like gay rights and climate change.

One bit of gossip that is doing the rounds here: When it became clear the Poles were not going to get the vice presidency they had been promised, President Kaczynski phoned David Cameron in London demanding that the Conservative leader in the Parliament, Timothy Kirkhope, fall on his sword and offer up the group leadership. And despite some very magnanimous words from Mr Kirkhope this morning supporting his new group leader, it must have been a bitter pill to swallow, given the work he had personally put in to set the group up in the first place. Politics can be a brutal way to earn a living.

Wednesday, 1125 French time

The Conservatives in the European Parliament look like they're in a bit of a mess.

Late last night Edward McMillan-Scott, one of the Tories' longest-serving MEPs and a former group leader, was elected as one of the Parliament's 14 vice-presidents. So far so good. But the problem is he did so in direct contravention of his party and his group, the newly-formed European Conservatives and Reformists. The group was put together after David Cameron's pledge to pull the Conservatives out of the main centre-right group, the European People's Party, seen as too federalist by many Tories.

In order to get the group off the ground a delicately balanced deal was forged. The Polish delegation in the group, the Law and Justice Party, was promised one of the Vice Presidencies - Michal Kaminski, the delegation leader, was all set to get the post.

But then in stepped Mr McMillan-Scott, who was a vice-president in the last Parliament and clearly fancied another five years in the job. Perhaps it's no coincidence he was also one of the Conservatives most opposed to leaving the EPP in the first place. He was spotted by one of my colleagues at an EPP meeting last week. "Just catching up with old friends," he said at the time.

But in defeating Mr Kaminski, he has set the cat among the pigeons. The Poles are reported to have been furious they have lost out on the vice-presidency. I understand they didn't actually threaten to walk out, but to placate them the Tories' leader Timothy Kirkhope offered to stand aside as leader of the broader ECR group.

So now Mr Kaminski is group leader and so gets valuable guaranteed speaking time in debates; Mr McMillan-Scott is a vice-president of the Parliament but has had the Conservative whip withdrawn and could well be booted out of the ECR group. And Mr Kirkhope, who worked hard to establish the group in the first place, is left with very little. It's also possible that as a result the Tories may miss out on powerful committee chairmanships.

Why this matters is that when leaving the EPP and setting up the ECR group in the first place, the Conservative leadership said they would have a louder voice in the Parliament. Now that claim looks to be in tatters.

Press conferences follow, so more later. But we can expect Mr Kaminski to face some tough questions - what are his views on gay rights and homosexuality, for example? And the Conservatives must be wondering how this all went quite so pear-shaped.

Tuesday, 1819 French time

Some late breaking drama here in Strasbourg, around the elections for the posts of Vice President to the European Parliament. It seems that the long-serving British Conservative MEP Edward McMillan-Scott - a former leader of the Conservatives in the Parliament - has defied his party and stood for the post of vice president. He was one of the VPs in the last Parliament and obviously fancied carrying on with the job. But the deal within the Conservatives' new group - the European Conservatives and Reformists - was that a Polish MEP would get the gig instead.

British Conservative MEP Edward McMillan-Scott
Edward McMillan-Scott has been an MEP since 1984

(Groups are less formal than parties and more like loose coalitions among Europe's political "families" - but they matter because forming one gets you access to parliamentary money and speaking time as well as powerful committee places. Parliamentary rules mean that you must have 25 members from seven countries for a group to be recognised.)

Mr McMillan-Scott - never really very happy with the Conservatives pulling out of the biggest centre-right group, the European People's Party - was told he would lose the party whip if he stood in opposition to his new Polish colleague - but stand he did. That has left the Conservatives' Polish allies fuming.

How fragile is the Tories' new group? It's the centrepiece of David Cameron's European policy. If the group collapses it would be a disaster for the Tories. Watch this space - I'll try and update you later tonight or tomorrow, depending on when we get a result.

Tuesday, 1635 French time

Just had a chat with two Labour MEPs. I asked them about how they were going to deal with the BNP question - engage or isolate? One of them described the policy as "developing". In the 1970s there was a "No Platform" approach - in other words, deny racists access to a public platform from which they can speak. But Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons are democratically elected representatives, so that's not going to work now. Nick Griffin is even on the BBC's Sunday morning Andrew Marr Show. Hence the "developing" nature of the approach. Quite what it's developing into is not yet clear.

On the gossip I passed on earlier: Apparently Belgian law allows staff in cafes and bars to refuse to serve customers who are upsetting others or causing a disturbance, and this is what's been happening in some cases when the BNP arrive. But my two MEPs thought it most unlikely that microphones would have been switched off when they tried to speak in parliamentary meetings. "Cock up rather than conspiracy" was one view.

What is clear is that the BNP are not welcome at a drinks reception tomorrow hosted by the British Minister for Europe (and former MEP) Baroness Glenys Kinnock. All the other British MEPs have been invited, along with members of the British press here in Strasbourg. But the BNP? No.

By the way, the new President Jerzy Buzek is still taking congratulatory phone calls. I just spotted him outside the hemicycle, mobile clamped to his ear. Then a quick handshake with a passing MEP and another call comes in.

Tuesday, 1225 French time
New parliament president - Jerzy Buzek
Mr Buzek will chair the assembly for two-and-a-half years

As expected the former Polish PM Jerzy Buzek has been elected as the new President of the European Parliament. He scored an overwhelming win - 555 votes, to just 89 for the only other candidate, Eva-Britt Svensson from Sweden.

His election is interesting not least because it reflects the growing power of the new member states from Central and Eastern Europe in the EU. And Mr Buzek made reference to that in his acceptance speech, talking about the long journey Poland had taken to emerge from behind the Iron Curtain as a key player in the EU. It's pretty amazing really.

I remember a conversation with my Dad in the mid-1980s when I asked him if he ever thought the Iron Curtain would fall. "Not in my lifetime," he said. It's his birthday on Thursday and he'll be 76. Just goes to show that even dads get it wrong sometimes.

Tuesday, 1120 French time

So the first session of this new Parliament has begun amid pretty chaotic scenes. To start with, journalists had to queue for ages in pouring rain at the press entrance to the Parliament as loads of people were waiting for temporary accreditation - part-timers! The BBC News Channel was waiting, so I flashed my badge and barged in I'm afraid.

European Parliament, Strasbourg, 14 Jul 09
The parliament's powers have grown with each European election

Meanwhile outside the Parliament chamber hordes of camera crews and snappers were jostling for position as the new MEPs entered what's known as the hemicycle, trying to get a shot as the members trooped in to vote for a new president. A few well-known faces appeared - Jose Bove for example, the French farmer who became the poster boy for the anti-globalisation movement and is now a freshly-minted MEP.

The first round of voting is now under way as I type, but everyone knows the former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek will emerge as the winner. How democratic is that?

We're also waiting to see what will happen with the British National Party. I'd be amazed if there was not some kind of statement or demonstration by a British MEP objecting to their presence in the chamber.

Here's some unverified gossip: During preliminary meetings in Brussels over the past few weeks the BNP were given the cold shoulder in the canteens and cafes. And every time the BNP's Nick Griffin tried to speak his microphone mysteriously went dead so he could never be heard. If it's true, is this the right way to treat someone who is after all a democratically elected representative?

Monday, 1830 French time

So here we are for a (shortish) week at the Strasbourg seat of the European Parliament to mark the first sitting of the new session. It's a good five-hour drive here from my usual base in Brussels (don't get me started on the insanity of the Parliament's two seats in Strasbourg and Brussels) and over the past two years my cameraman colleague Patrice and I have developed a tradition of stopping for a hearty lunch of meatballs and chips at the Ikea on the Belgium-Luxembourg border. I then fall fast asleep to leave Patrice to drive on, accompanied by the sound of some light snoring.

But now I'm here there's plenty to get my teeth into. All 736 MEPs elected last month need to be sworn in; chairmen and members of the various parliamentary committees - where most of the real work is done - need to be agreed; and a new President of the European Parliament needs to be elected. I use "elected" in the broadest sense of the word in that it's almost certainly going to be the former conservative prime minister of Poland Jerzy Buzek who will assume the parliament's top job, in a stitch-up between the centre-right group, the European People's Party (the biggest in the parliament), and the centre-left group, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. The latter will probably have one of their own take over the role half-way through the five-year life of this Parliament.

Plus, a new force makes its debut this week - the European Conservatives and Reformists Group gets its first outing, following the British Tories' withdrawal from the EPP. Quite how influential they will be depends on how many committee seats and chairmanships they pick up this week.

And of course there is the small matter of the arrival of two newly-elected British MEPs from the British National Party. How will the generally liberal establishment here in Strasbourg deal with a party that many regard as racist? How should they respond - engage and challenge or isolate and ignore? What do you think? I'll be adding diary entries across the week and I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Your comments:

Poor old Cameron. You did not think the vested interests in the EU would allow a major voice of dissent to arise did you? McMillan-Scott is not a fool and has sold his soul to them as he knows that is where the real power lies. I hope Kaminski knows what he has let himself in for.
Tony Sweeting, Leicester, UK

Like it or not, two BNP MEPs exist because people voted for them in our democratic system. Nearly a million voters must have found the BNP's policies attractive. The MEPs' views, opinions and policies must be aired fairly so that we the British public can make up our own minds. To deliberately suppress or censor the views of a democratically elected MEP would mean that we are heading towards a dictatorship.
Paul, Portsmouth, England.

Cameron's new grouping started to disintegrate earlier than expected and I suspect that decent Conservative MEPs will soon follow Edward McMillan-Scott and abandon ship. Ludoboy, Guildford

The BBC News site is worldwide, why do you mainly focus on UK MEPs?
Aidan OSullivan, Dublin, Ireland

I'm aghast at the actions of Mr McMillan-Scott. The Conservative Euro manifesto was quite clear about their intention to leave the EPP and create a new grouping. If Scott was unhappy with this he should not have stood for election as a Conservative.

I would also caution Glenys Kinnock and others who may be tempted to attack Mr Kaminski. As he is clearly the choice of the Polish President to lead the ECR, any suggestions that he is fascist, homophobic, anti-Semitic etc imply the same criticism of the Polish President. This may not go down too well in Warsaw!
Vernon Stradling, Havant, UK

I am not too happy that people like Mr Kaminski were elected to the EP to say the least, but accusing him of a neo-fascist past is simply silly. Even here in Poland nobody tried to do so and it would be done if there was even a hint of truth, you can believe me.

I made some research and indeed Mr Kaminski was a member of NOP - something similar to BNP (which however never won any seats anywhere in Poland) - but that was for a few months and in 1989, ie the times when numerous parties were forming here and there.

Of course I am surprised that Tories allied themselves with PiS, which can be roughly comparable to UKIP, but that is the question British voters should ask themselves.

To find a friend in the only party which gathered support of populist and nationalist voters including some crazy extremists (but again nothing comparable to BNP), lost three elections in a row, is a subject of so many jokes that it is only comparable to the Communist Party and became a pariah of Polish politics... is like asking for trouble.Tom, Poznan

That just about tops it all. Mr Blair for President. Can anyone really believe that the EU is anything more than a source of income for a political elite? Is the destiny of Europe really in the hands of such self-seekers? I cannot make up my mind as to whether the EU is one blatant, but well-conceived, confidence trick, or the invention of delusional minds.
Peter Bolt, Redditch, UK

There has been talk of a Conservative (British) muddle, however I think the mention of Tony Blair as EU President must have them jumping with glee. I can't think of anything more likely than that to make sure Irish voters reject the Lisbon Treaty a second time...

I'm all for the EU myself, but you really have to ask what went wrong when as part of the Treaty they need to set up yet another institution with the sole purpose to engage with the European people! Surely that is the job of the elected representatives??
Anthony Corballis, Dublin, Ireland

The actions of Edward McMillan-Scott show how arrogant Europhile elites are. The voters, traditions, promises mean nothing if they are not in line with the "ever greater union" ideology. The Europhiles will stop at nothing unless their vision is enforced on all of us. In the end it is perhaps better for the new Conservative group that he left so early. Otherwise he would sabotage the effort all the time.

Although I have no illusions that the establishment in Brussels will allow any opponents of Europhile propaganda to make their voices heard. Look for Kaminski to be branded as anti-Semitic, gayhating, anti-German and racist. And no matter what he does or says it will not stop the media changing his image.
Wojciech, Wroclaw

Oh, for heaven's sake, end the idiotic, dismal, expensive, undemocratic circus now. It will peter out eventually, inevitably just like the Soviet Union did. Why? Because it's undemocratic and the auditors haven't been able to sign off the accounts for twelve years!!!! Would you invest in any organisation like that? Exactly! And yet the hardworking people of the EU are forced to pour billions annually into the gaping maw of this destructive monster - money that in these harsh times real, working people (who produce wealth, rather than the bureaucrats who waste it) need to buy the bare essentials of life - food for example.
Simon Morrison, Truro

European parliamentary voting undemocratic? How about the House of Lords? Remind me, where does their legitimacy come from?
Piotr, Edinburgh

Many people here have raised the point that the EU cannot be undemocratic if the European Parliament is elected. However, this is incorrect. The problem here is not whether the EP is elected, but that the EP has very little actual power. The European Parliament can't initiate legislation - it can only approve it. The true executive and legislative body of the European Union is the - unelected - Commission, and that is the source of the "unelected" criticism.

Does this mean we should pull out of the EU? No. We should be working to reform the European Union, but this can only be done by a radical rethinking of how the European political system works.

European integration will lead to Europe becoming a superpower, and that is what we must realise. That is much better than the alternative, which is Chinese-totalitarian-imperial dominance.

The real issue we need to consider is how to reform the EU so it becomes a fully democratic power. The European Parliament needs to become the centre of power, and there needs to be a European Cabinet responsible to the European people, which there is patently not at the moment.Vincent Garton, Cheshunt, UK

The fact is that the two BNP MEPs were elected democratically to the EP. However, not in every country could a party like the BNP exist at all, for example in Poland it is illegal by the constitution to establish a communist or fascist political party and take part in the election at all. Please never forget that in many European Union countries being an associate of a communist or fascist/racist party/group is a criminal offence and is prosecuted. In the light of these facts how can some of you say that the BNP MEPs can speak loudly to the whole assembly? They just smartly made use of the British extremely liberal (allowing parties like BNP to exist) constitution to get their seats.
Marek, Warsaw, Poland

Interesting that people blather on about the democratic deficit in the EU while studiously ignoring the fact that most (if not all) legislatures are under the thumbs of the executive in most countries. Not so with the European Parliament. However, I must agree that the majority of the MEPs are pretty second rate (even by low national standards). The Economist had a good article about how, given that voters haven't a clue what goes on in the Parliament, direct representative democracy hasn't worked, and some sort of other representative model should be tried.

Anyway, Eurosceptics will never be happy. Never any really tangible, workable proposal came from them.
Kevin, Brussels

If everyone undertook their responsibility to send the right people to the European Parliament we would all get a lot further. And why all this griping at the EU being undemocratic? The only thing you need to do is vote. We in Belgium chose amongst others Guy Verhofstadt to be in the European Parliament, because he has a clear vision of what Europe should be and he has articulated his "positive" vision to everyone. 700.000 Belgians voted him in to represent them. This is democracy at work.
Philippe Geril, Ostend, Belgium

I find it endlessly sad that the people who complain most loudly and intemperately about one organisation or another being "undemocratic" or "fascist" tend not only to be splendidly unfamiliar with what representative democracy is, and how it works, but more pointedly, have so rarely, if ever, lived under a real totalitarian system themselves and are hardly in a position to make a comparison.
Robin Hilliard, Jakarta, Indonesia

We now have a number of MEPs as well as Scottish and Welsh assembly MPs, why have we not cut down on the number of MPs in Westminster? All these extra politicians must be doing some of the work that use to be done in Westminster, so why don't we reduce the number of Westminster MPs to a quarter of those we have now?
Mark Ambridge, Bath, England

I don't see why we can't leave and just have a 'trade' relationship with them. The amount of money we waste for these people which could go towards OUR country, or real poor people amazes me.
Allan, London

To the delight of all Europeans who still believe in true democracy, the German Constitutional Court ruled that the EU parliament can never replace national parliaments due to its inherent DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT.

Here in Germany, a huge majority would like a referendum on the much despised Lisbon treaty/constitution. If the Legoland parliament in Brussels is vaguely interested in the "D" word they should give us all one before deploying the EU's own paramilitary (google: European Gendarmerie Force) to shut us up! Long live liberty and democracy in Europe.
johannes, Berlin,Germany

Obviously a great number of people agree with some of the issues both the BNP and UKIP stand for, they were elected to be at the EU Parliament and should be treated equally with all other members. We cannot deny freedom of speech or freedom of thought, and then claim democracy.

None of the governments want to accept that racism exists, but it does and always will exist. We can only be careful to ensure that those political parties that make racial issues primary in their plans to govern do not get the opportunity to do so. But if they have elected representatives in a governing body, then they should be given the same rights to express their views as all others.
Ken Donovan, Germany

I think the saddest thing about the make-up of the Parliament and the recent elections is the total failure of the party-based 'democratic' system to deliver the urgently needed change which Europe must have, now.

There needs to be a massive transfer of resources from the wealthiest to the poorest, and a colossal investment in infrastructure and technology.

The problem is that the mercantile and political elites have captured the 'democratic' process so thoroughly that there is no effective way for European voters to vote for real change - only for the flavour of capitalist excess, red or blue. They seem pretty similar to me.

Sadly, the European coalition democracy system simply exacerbates this problem. This is neatly summed up by the alleged deal between the EPP and PASDE, who ought to be challenging each other, not making deals to solidify their grip on power (not to mention their grip on the expense accounts).

It is deeply distressing that the illusion of polarity, and the dead weight of the party political system in the 'mature' Member States, seems likely to lock us into a future where we simply choose between pink or baby blue stooges forever.

Apart from the greens, the far left and the extremist right, all the parties represent massive and inefficient vested interests - the farmers, the banks, the unions, the pharmaceutical industry, the lawyers, the supermarkets - just look at their backgrounds and their other jobs.

It is these vested interests, and the colossal rents that they extract from society in fees, pensions, state subsidies, overpriced products and gross wages, that are holding the UK and Europe back from development and wealth for all.

Europe, and I, want real change, and real choice.
Andrew, London, UK

I hope our esteemed Euroleaders are reminded how much we hate their dictatorial tendencies whenever they see their two new colleagues. I do not personally think voting in wannabe dictators is a good way to do it though. I never thought I would see the day when the BNP got someone beyond councillor status. Tony Sweeting, Leicester, UK

Un-democratic body! This statement doesn't add up! Why do we have Euro Elections? The European Parliament does represent the voters' wishes, better than in the UK where they still use the first past the post system.
foxyeric, brussels, belgium

I wonder how this new-look EU Parliament will handle another rejection of the Lisbon (Constitution) Treaty by the Irish electorate this coming October?

How will it reconcile its dictatorial aspirations with the blatant democracy emanating from Ireland?

The Constitution (Lisbon) Treaty is all about destroying democracy and the Irish really are now becoming just more than an embarrassment; they are an unwelcome hindrance.
Micheal Breathnach, Galway, Ireland

Why does no-one comment on the fact that the European elections have reflected the Eurosceptic feelings that most people in the UK (and other Euro countries) have?

The only comments we get about the BNP and UKIP is that they are racial votes. Yet in most countries only the smaller parties reflect the scepticism that Europeans feel towards this nonsense and un-democratic body that makes its representatives waste money by moving from Brussels to Strasbourg etc.
Marijke Bevan, Tunbridge Wells, U.K.



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