Amelia (not) working in Brussels day 2
This is a new and exciting day. I have been sitting in the ”Mickey Mouse”-bar (because it looks like Mickey Mouse, although I have come to question that: it does not look like a Mickey Mouse head) at the European parliament talking to Marina Lähteenmaa and Björn Källström from Europaparlamentet i Sverige for a while about the Lisbon treaty and the ascension of the new MEPs into the European parliament. The questions are plentyful and the answers are none.
- When will full ascension happen?: The full ascension could happen at any time between 2010-2014. An amending protocol to the Lisbon treaty needs to be ratified by the Council and perhaps by the Parliament. This depends on whether or not the Parliament will ask for a ”convention” or not. They will ask for a convention if the Sarkoszy plan for Lisbon MEPs goes through. If it doesn’t, the entire process might be over in as short a time as a 15 minute coffee break.
- When will observer status happen? This again depends. Follow-up questions the haven’t been settled are: Will all the new MEPs become observers at the same time or will they become observers as they are nominated (I have for instance already been nominated by the Swedish department for elections)? If they are appointed, who will pay? Allegedly, a parliament protocol paragraph says that the parliament will pay, but some people still argue it’s on the responsibility of national parliaments. National parliaments are not keen on assuming the responsibility. Again, it’s an issue still to be settled.
- How will the new MEPs be nominated? For Sweden this was an easy question because we have a proportional election system: because the Pirate Party got a certain percentage of the votes, we get two MEPs under the Lisbon treaty. But in the UK they will have to settle which electorial circuit (term?) gets a MEP under the new treaty (they’re not currently all represented). In France, it’s even more complicated and slightly ugly. The president, beloved and utmost democratic minded president Sarkoszy has decided that the parliament will pick from their own ranks a socialist and a conservative to fill the places. The Greens are outraged, and so are the socialists, because this does not conform with the will of the voters. Furthermore, the European Parliament are outraged because if the French president decides who becomes an MEP they can hardly claim to be a publically elected institution. The president does not constitute the public.
The Spanish presidency will want to prioritize the issue of ascension since they gain four new MEPs under the treaty. Other nations will not be in such a hurry, because they don’t really gain anything. Germany ought to be happy, because they’ll have three MEPs too many for a full 4,5 years (starting now).
I will not be so happy, because I’m very short on money and have a lot of work to do.
This afternoon I’m hoping to get to know my provisorial office, work on competition policies in the telecoms sector (including the current situations in Spain, Germany, France and the UK: any help would be welcome), and have the time to read up on the Spanish bill on shutting down internet sites that facilitate copyright infringement.