The Parliament Magazine's week that was

PMHQ's take on what really mattered this week in Brussels and beyond.


16 Jan 2015

Bar room brawl?

News that pint swilling, 'everyman' British comedian Al Murray will stand against err… pint swilling, 'everyman' politician Nigel Farage in this spring's UK general election left eurosceptic supporters aghast over fears that Murray's over the top Anglophile 'Pub Landlord' character could draw votes from the UKIP leader.

Murray this week released a 13 point "common sense" action plan which included pledges to take the UK out of Europe by 2025 – and the solar system by 2050, bricking up the channel tunnel (with British made bricks of course) and a promise to "revalue the pound at £1.10, so it will now be worth 10p more."

Parodying Farage's "normal bloke down the pub" approach, Murray announced, "It seems to me that the UK is ready for a bloke waving a pint around, offering common sense solutions."

                      Farage                                                                                                     Murray

Professional response of the week

European ombudsman Emily O'Reilly weighs in on the TTIP debate calling on the commission to recognise the concerns of Europe's citizens. Perhaps the commission should consider creating some sort of initiative that would allow citizens to voice such concerns.

"Further steps are needed to increase the legitimacy of the negotiations in the eyes of the public. The commission has to ensure at all times that exceptions to the EU citizens' fundamental right to get access to documents are well-founded and fully justified."



Quote of the week

EU governments accused of 'Bermuda Triangle' approach to law-making

Outspoken ALDE group deputy Sophie in 't Veld called on the incoming Latvian EU council presidency to shake up the decision-making process of EU leaders. Speaking earlier this week in response to Latvian prime minister Laimdota Straujuma's presentation to MEPs on Riga's presidency priorities over the next six months, in 't Veld attacked what she described as undeliverable "grand designs" and "blockages" by EU national governments on passing key EU rules and laws. The Dutch D66 MEP, a vice chair of parliament's 68 strong Liberal grouping, said Europe's capitals needed to "stop talking and start delivering" and accused the EU council of being, "a bit like the Bermuda Triangle, we send in a legislative proposal, and it disappears, never to be heard of anymore."


Best idea

The Latvian presidency urging EU heads of state and government to take inspiration from the medium of dance and make policy decisions like no one's watching (Unless we're talking about TTIP).






Worst idea

The Latvian presidency urging EU heads of state and government to be inspired by the medium of dance. Try not to imagine a tango featuring Cameron and Merkel – who would lead? (Disclaimer: we all know who would lead)

No one puts Davey in the corner

Meanwhile in LaLa Land

Once upon a time, EPP chairman Manfred Weber was excited to work towards "a strong parliament shaping the key decisions of the next five years".

The S&D group added that it would work with the EPP and ALDE "to create a stable, pro-European majority […] striving jointly for reforms that will strengthen and improve the workings […] of the institutions and their effectiveness".

To prove their commitment to the EPP, S&D refused to participate in negotiations on a joint resolution on the commission's work programme without them.

In the end, parliament voted on seven different resolutions and the greens, liberals and socialists voted for each other's proposals.

The EPP, having seemingly forgotten about its mission to shape "a stable and sustainable majority" with ALDE and S&D, did not vote in favour of the amendments. Neither did the ECR.

A broken man, Green MEP Bas Eickhout sighed, "today's vote on the commission work programme was a shambles".


#HashtagOfTheWeek - #FoxNewsFacts

While there was universal condemnation of the events in Paris last week, Fox News brought its own unique blend of 'fair and balanced' analysis to the horrific attack with some #FoxNewsFacts.

Self-styled terrorism 'expert' Steve Emerson said, "In Britain, it's not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don't go in."

Emerson has since apologised and described the barrage of online ridicule that ensued as being "like waterboarding".

Here is a selection of the best #FoxNewsFacts...







And finally... blatant product plug of the week

Our colleagues at PMHQ, Dods EU Monitoring present their rundown of the key dates and priorities of Latvia's six-month EU council presidency running from January to June 2015.

Click here to download this fabulous breakdown of dates for your diary for the next six months.




Read the most recent articles written by PMHQ - The Parliament Magazine's week that was - pre-Easter edition