Opinion » Columnists

European Elections: Voting for what? Or voting? What for?

If there was an Abstention Party, it would win the European Parliamentary Elections every time.
This total lack of interest in the elections, which will take place between 10th and 13th June, is a clear sign of an absence of
political leadership in this Continent, where the Eurocrats and the people of Europe are like two divorcees living together in the same house.

After so many years of the European Community/Union, it would be expectable that by now, the population would live in a political democracy in which they were full partners in terms of stakeholder interests in the political system, that they would vote for their members of the European parliament (MEPs), knowing which political groups they were going to represent in
Strasburg, knowing what the powers of the European Parliament are, knowing that their vote counted to establish balance or greater or lesser influences in this organism so as to adopt policies of their choice, which had been adequately and openly explained to them..

However, unfortunately, the reality is very far from this. The rate of abstention for the elections this week has been estimated at around 70%, which, if true, means that under a third of the electorate will bother to vote for policies which should be in their common interest.

Why? Because in first place, the European Union is one of the most undemocratic organisms in existence. In the case of the Parliament, it is the only component of the EU mechanism that is elected democratically and directly but which does not have any executive power. In the case of the Union, it was implanted and imposed with a top-down approach, without anyone bothering to explain to the people what was happening and what were the implications for the future of each sector.

In second place, do the people of Europe understand who is the MEP they are voting for? Do they understand what policies this MEP is going to follow? Do they understand what the European Parliament does? Apparently not. Or if they do, they don't care.

Thirdly, to attract the vote, the political parties have to choose the more interesting themes, whether or not they have anything whatsoever to do with Europe. Many times, they discuss internal subjects with a national relevance, not pan-European questions with international impact and it is the electorate which is supposed to make the connection between these themes and what goes on in Strasburg, except the connection does not exist.

In fact, the only use these elections have is to show how popular or unpopular the national governments are, which in the case of some, Portugal for instance, will be deservedly high, due to the disastrous right-wing monetarist policy which has seen a substantial slice of the middle class drop below the poverty line and which has followed a foreign policy dictated
by Washington, involving Portugal in the illegal act of mass murder in Iraq.

Certainly, the Portuguese people, and others, will have something to say.

It is more and more the responsibility of the media to assume the role of political leadership, in the absence of such from the politicians, explaining to the electorate the subjects and questions which should be presented by those who defend or attack them. In the case of the European Parliament, there are eight main blocks.


PPE-DE Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats. It is the largest party with 232 of the 626 MEPs. Next, is the PSE, Group of the Party of European Socialists, with 175 seats.

Following this is the ELDR, Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party (54); GUE/NGL, Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (50); Verts/ALE,  Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (45); UEN, Union for Europe of the Nations Group (22); EDD, Group
for a Europe of Democracies and Diversities (17) and there are 31 places for Independent members.

The number of MEPs in the European Union of 25 member-states will rise to 732, each country with a number of seats, depending on population, namely:


99 - Germany; 78 - France, Italy, United Kingdom; 54 - Spain, Poland; 27 - Netherlands; 24 - Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Czech Republic; 19 - Sweden; 18 - Austria; 14 - Denmark, Slovenia, Finland; 13 - Ireland, Lithuania; 9 - Latvia; 7 - Slovenia; 6 - Cyprus, Estonia, Luxemburg; 5 - Malta.

Without knowing this, the citizens of Europe are voting for what? Or indeed, voting? What for?

The United States' Head of Diplomacy, or Secretary of State, is an anachronistic, incompetent, meddling, intrusive, insolent and arrogant, rude individual, a brash, foul-mouthed upstart, a conceited, self-important guttersnipe and an insult to the international community, as fit for the job as a pedophile janitor in a grade school.

Tillerson must go!