Eleonora Forenza: EU Parliament's grand coalition is an 'orphan child'

Eleonora Forenza, the GUE/NGL group candidate for Parliament's presidency, has branded the grand coalition between the EPP and Socialist groups an "orphan child."

Eleonora Forenza | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

12 Jan 2017

Italian MEP Eleonora Forenza was referring to the agreement, now defunct, between the two big groupings under which the presidency is normally shared during each mandate.

The EPP group were expected to take the post from this month, but was left having to field their own candidate after the Socialist group pulled the plug on the arrangement.

Forenza said, "It is quite surreal what we are seeing really because there is, it seems, no coalition at all."


With current President Martin Schulz leaving to return to German politics, MEPs will vote next week on the institution's new leader.

The MEP, who gave a briefing for reporters in Parliament on Thursday, said, "I am a feminist from the south of Europe. This in itself makes a strong political statement and I am acutely aware of the heavy responsibilities this carries."

She said it was "not insignificant" that three of the candidates, Antonio Tajani, Gianni Pittella and herself, are Italian

"It is the south of Europe that has had to shoulder the migration burden of course. Also, the gap between the north and south of Europe, economically, is widening."

She outlined her candidacy, saying, "I will work to make the Parliament the centre of a project for a Europe built on the full participation of its citizens in politics.

"Having a fully democratic Europe means radically changing the current set-up in the European Union: a model that is based on neoliberalism, on austerity, on budget constraint, on the sovereign debts and the blackmails. 

"In addition, the lack of recognition of the right to work and the minimum income - particularly in southern Europe - must be reversed. Similarly, an oversight of fundamental rights for women and migrants are all elements which must be changed inside the EU where a third of women have suffered physical or psychological abuse," she said.

She also referred to the recent 'no' vote in Italy to a constitutional reform change which she said aimed to reduce the powers of the Italian Parliament – "something which JP Morgan had clearly wanted for countries in southern Europe."

She added, "But democracy prevailed and the European governance that wants to impose structural reforms to member states has lost.

"Meanwhile at the European Parliament, the so-called grand coalition between the S&D and EPP groups wanted to pass through the undemocratic review of the rules of procedures. This is the same grand coalition that has supported austerity. 

"We will fight against any attempt to restrict the rights of minority groups and of every elected representative in this Parliament. This is happening right now with the approval of the Corbett report on the new rules of procedures."

She added, "Europe needs more democracy - not less. I hope my candidacy will find support amongst those who wants to build another Europe - a fully democratic Europe. An alternative Europe to the one envisaged by the grand coalition."

Commenting on Forenza's candidature, group leader Gabi Zimmer said, "As the Left group in the European Parliament, we will continue to offer a political alternative to the people in the EU: against unacceptable austerity; building a genuine social pillar for the EU; investing in a sustainable and inclusive development and on decent work; for tax justice and a fairer distribution of wealth; for the respect of human rights and against the inhumane Fortress Europe.

"We will fight for a more democratic EU based on solidarity where policies are made for a majority of people - not just for banks and transnational corporations."


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