European Parliament

Not all is well in Brussels

All’s well that ends well. There is a temptation to sum up the resolution of the European Union’s personnel-finding troubles in such a Shakespearean way. [...]

Making sense of the European elections

If you are a New Zealander watching this strange post-EU elections process with a sense of disbelief from afar, do not be too puzzled: Most Europeans do not understand it either. [...]

The EU’s reverse Annie Hall problem

“I’d never join a club that would accept me as a member,” says Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall. With the European Union, it is the other way around: The EU would reject new members as anti-democratic as itself. [...]

Juncker’s multi-billion stimulus phantom

Juncker has not even started his new job as President of the European Commission yet and he is already showing why there was so much resistance to his appointment, particularly in economically liberal and conservative circles. In the pursuit of his policies, he is free of any guiding economic principles and indifferent to legal constraints. [...]

The joys of forming a European government

The problems with forming the European Commission are manifold, but there is only one written rule: Every EU member state will be represented by one commissioner, nominated by national governments. The difficulties begin once you realise that there are numerous unwritten rules to be considered when putting together the new Commission. [...]

The EU’s unique definition of democracy

What is democracy? Well, usually democracy is when the people vote in an election and the winner then happens to form a government. It is as simple as that. And what is European Union democracy? It is when the people vote in an election and, regardless of the outcome, German chancellor Angela Merkel decides on the next president of the European Commission [...]

The fallout from Europe’s political earthquake

By all accounts, these European elections have shaken political landscapes in many countries. Over the coming years, we will find out what these developments will mean in practice. However, the fragile consensus that hitherto governed Europe -- closer integration and bailouts against austerity promises -- will be hard to maintain. [...]

Europe’s elections: pick a party, any party

Effective political decision-making has never really been the EU’s strength in the euro crisis. A closer look at the mode of the forthcoming European elections does not indicate that this is likely to change anytime soon. And the grand "European elections" are really quite a farcical exercise in the way they are conducted. [...]

Europe’s para-democratic madness

Far from being a celebration of democracy -- the European elections are actually the second-largest democratic elections in the world after India -- they will only emphasise what is wrong with Europe. [...]

Time to end the EU’s travelling circus

Just like Canberra, Brussels is not the world’s most exciting place. But if the European Union really cared about administrative efficiency, it would make it its proper capital and stop the Strasbourg travelling circus. [...]