La Treizième Étoile: 06/05/12 - 13/05/12 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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How our MEPs see the EuroParl Plenary: the views from their seats in Brussels

Saturday, 12 May 2012
The Brussels European Parliament Plenary chamber as seen from seat no.76: Ashley Fox MEP (ECR, UK)The Brussels European Parliament Plenary chamber as seen from seat no.309: Giles Chichester MEP (ECR, UK)The Brussels European Parliament Plenary chamber as seen from seat no.312: The Earl of Dartmouth MEP (EFD, UK)The Brussels European Parliament Plenary chamber as seen from seat no.365: Julie Girling MEP (ECR, UK)The Brussels European Parliament Plenary chamber as seen from seat no.838: Trevor Colman MEP (NI, UK)The Brussels European Parliament Plenary chamber as seen from seat no.148: Sir Graham Watson MEP (ALDE, UK)

Taking advantage of the latest edition of the EU Institutions Open Day in Brussels, I took the opportunity to join a debate being held in the European Parliament's Plenary chamber, and watch the debate from the chairs of all six of our region's MEPs.

Above are the views that each of our MEPs currently enjoys during debates and votes held within the Plenary chamber in Brussels.

He may have next to no influence or clout being a Non-attached member, but since he is sat right at the very back it has arguably given UKIP's Trevor Colman the best view of the chamber. Then again, he isn't there enough to enjoy it...

Note: the location of each MEP is governed by their political orientation and by and large by their status within the political group. As seen from the the Speaker's chair, left-wing MEPs sit to the left with the spectrum extending around to the right and far-right wing MEPs sat to the right. The group leaders sit in the very front row, the higher level group members sit in the next few rows and so on. The non-attached members sit right at the very back.

'However one measures the achievements [of the Schuman Declaration goals], the EU has delivered' - Graham Watson MEP

Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Today - 9th May - is celebrated as Europe Day, the anniversary of the 'Schuman declaration' delivered in Paris in 1950 by Robert Schuman (the Luxembourgish-born French foreign minister at the time) in which he proposed a new form of political cooperation for Europe. The goal and vision was to make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable and forge shared prosperity through economic growth.

To mark this years’ anniversary, Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson has penned an article with fellow regional party member Andrew Wigley in which he argues ‘however one measures the achievements of those goals, the conclusion has to be the European Union has delivered on both counts’. As the authors explain:

for those of us who believe in the EU’s objectives and feel that Britain should be leading in Europe, these are turbulent times. Liberal Democrats tend to default to a more enlightened, progressive mindset. Our values are anchored in being engaged in the international community; sufficiently self aware to recognise the UK no longer has the clout to go it alone. Internationalists by instinct, we recognise the challenges of our age are rarely managed at the national level alone. Tackling global issues can only be achieved in concert with other countries and within an agreed framework of action that has political and legal bite.

But the authors do issue a warning to the party and a rallying call: while the Liberal Democrat party ‘
should keep the EU in check, we should not sleepwalk down the slippery slope of euroscepticism’. They write:

let UKIP spew nonsense, and Conservatives spin half-truths, but it is our responsibility as Liberal Democrats to defend the reality of living in a globalised world; that if we want less crime on our streets, if we want a cleaner environment, if want to guarantee affordable energy solutions, if want to safeguard economic growth and prosperity, that can not only be achieved realistically by means of the European Union. There isn’t an alternative.


Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.