Posts in "Czech Republic" Category

A five-point guide to the EU top jobs puzzle

This weekend, the European Council will meet again to decide on the holders of the EU’s top jobs.

Here’s our five-point guide to Saturday’s meeting and what it means – and have your say on one of the key issues of the summer by voting in our poll.

1. Time for action

hvr squareAfter the failure to agree on the top jobs at the last summit in July, European Union leaders are under pressure to reach an accord. The European Council is increasingly gaining a reputation as an institution that takes too long to decide anything, and whose decisions are often ‘fudges’.

Saturday is the crunch moment: if EU leaders fail to conclude a ‘package’ of appointments, it will put paid to any remote hopes of appointing the Commission on time. More importantly in the long term, it will increase popular and global perceptions of the EU as a sclerotic organisation. Herman Van Rompuy (pictured left), the President of the European Council, was criticised by EU leaders and many analysts for not preparing a watertight deal before July’s summit (although he was not helped by some prime ministers). The President will not want another failure.

The decisions are not easy: there are significant political, institutional and personal headaches for the 28 leaders. But the leaders are there to lead, and to decide. It’s time to act.

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Building a new Commission – the runners and riders for the next College

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]Post updated later on Wednesday 11 June to account for news that Dacian Cioloș (Agriculture and Rural Development; Romania) may be re-nominated to the Commission.[/infopane]

With the choice of a President of the European Commission still up in the air, we are a long way off knowing the full team that will occupy the upper floors of the Berlaymont for the next five years.

Nevertheless, national governments are already putting forward their proposed nominees to sit in the new College. Here’s our look at the comings and goings in the Commission in 2014, and the potential candidates to take a seat in the new Commission.

If you have comments or suggestions, please include them in the comments box.

See our country-by-country guide to the potential nominees

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Who’s going where? Tracking the musical chairs in the European Parliament

[infopane color=”5″ icon=”0049.png”]Please note that since the constitutive session of the European Parliament on 1 July 2014, this page is no longer being updated.[/infopane]
EPP S&D ALDE G/EFA ECR EFDD GUE/NGL NI
221 191 67 50 70 48 52 52
27 countries 28 countries 21 countries 17 countries 15 countries 7 countries 14 countries 10 countries
The 2014 European elections brought 34 new parties or independent candidates to the European Parliament.

Now, many of those new MEPs are seeking to join political groups to strengthen their voice in the Parliament, while a battle goes on between the groups to attract new members that help ensure their survival and maximise their influence, speaking time and funding.

One new group – the European Alliance for Freedom – has also been mooted as a way to bring together anti-EU parties on the radical right. To form this and other groups, a minimum of 25 MEPs are needed, representing at least seven member states.

At the same time, other parties are considering changing groups or allying themselves to a group for the first time.

Take a look at our table listing the parties up for grabs, based on the vast array of information from intelligence we have gathered and media reports – and contribute via the button below or the comments box at the bottom of the page.

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Elections round-up: EPP loses but stays as biggest group, while anti-EU parties surge

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Europe’s voters have backed a vast array of anti-EU and anti-establishment voters in the 2014 European Parliament elections, sending fewer MEPs from each of the main political groups back to Brussels and Strasbourg.

Despite being the biggest loser of the night in terms of seats, the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) looks like emerging as the biggest party in the European Parliament with its support holding up in Germany and Poland among the larger member states, and good support across central and Eastern Europe. The Socialists are also set to lose a handful of seats, with the Liberals likely to lose around 20 seats according to the latest projections.

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A more visual EU election?

Visual communication is steadily entering its way into online campaigns for the European Parliament elections.

Candidates and political parties are showing rather than describing what they stand for, and we can see rather than read how candidates are being interviewed, campaigning, speaking and making pledges.

Images with quotes signed by the lead candidates of the two largest European political parties, Jean-Claude Juncker (European People’s Party) and Martin Schulz (Party of European Socialists) regularly float by in Twitter and Facebook feeds.

The Liberal ALDE Party uses wordclouds to set out its values and the European Greens encourage voters to create their own digital campaign poster.

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50 days to go, 50 things to know about Europe’s year of change

The countdown continues: at 08:00 CET on Wednesday 2 April, there are exactly 50 days to go to the opening of the polls for the European Parliament elections.

Here is our overview of where we stand and what you need to know about Europe’s year of change:

Top jobs | Country-by-country | PollWatch 2014 | The elections and beyond | Reading list

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Weekend round-up: PES Congress confirms Schulz as common candidate

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Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, was officially confirmed as the ‘common candidate’ of the Party of European Socialists during an election congress in Rome.

Schulz – the only candidate – was backed by 368 delegates in the Italian capital. Two delegates opposed Schulz and 34 abstained.

In his acceptance speech, Schulz set out his priorities should he become President of the European Commission. He highlighted that his first priority would be employment, a theme that is also prominent in the Socialist manifesto, also adopted in Rome.

The Congress welcomed the Italian Democratic Party (PD) as its newest member, with the moniker ‘Socialists and Democrats’ now added to the Party’s logo – possibly hinting that the parliamentary Socialists and Democrats Group, whose name was changed to reflect the inclusion of the PD, will revert to the ‘PES’ name after the elections.

Read our Storify of the PES Congress (storify.com) See our photos from the Congress (flickr.com)
PES manifesto (pes.eu) Martin Schulz’ speech (pes.eu) Martin Schulz campaign website

The election of Schulz as the Socialists’ common candidate means that the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) is the only main party yet to officially name its candidate.

On Friday, Michel Barnier – the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services – joined the race, nominated by his own party (France’s Union for a Popular Movement) and backed by EPP member parties in Hungary and Slovenia.

Barnier will face the former prime minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker (also backed by parties in Germany and Greece), who is favourite to win the nomination, and former Latvian PM Valdis Dombrovskis, who is supported by parties in Estonia and Lithuania, as well as his own party.

EPP delegates will pick the party’s lead candidate in Dublin on Friday.

EPP Dublin Elections Congress website

The European Democratic Party, whose members include the Democratic Movement (MoDem) in France, adopted its manifesto and will chose its common candidate on 12 March.

EDP manifesto (pde-edp.eu)
A number of national parties also selected candidates for the European Parliament elections this weekend (click the country name to go to the candidates list for that country):
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Read our lists of European Parliament candidates

 

Czech elections: Political crisis goes on after inconclusive elections

Read our full election Insight (PDF)

Early elections in the Czech Republic have failed to resolve the country’s ongoing political crisis.

The polls, held more than four months after the fall of the centre-right government, saw the opposition Social Democrats remain the biggest single party in parliament, but with a much lower-than-expected share of the vote.

ANO 2011, a party led by the country’s second-richest person, finished in second place in its first ever general election, while the conservative Civic Democratic Party (ODS), which had led the previous coalition, finished fifth, losing more than two-thirds of its seats in parliament.

Coalition talks will now begin, although the task has been complicated by a split in the Social Democrats following their disappointing showing. The political crisis seems set to continue, with possibly a fragile coalition or a new caretaker administration taking office.