No English for me please! So says France in laying out their plans for their upcoming stint in the ever-rotating Presidency of the European Council. In the wake of the United Kingdom’s torturously prolonged exit from the EU, France has made it clear that it intends to stem the proliferation of English as the de-facto language of the European Union’s inner workings.
On Sunday, a Belarusian military jet forced a Ryanair plane to perform an emergency landing in Minsk, even though the plane was en route to Lithuania from Greece. The reason for the seven-hour long detour turned out to be the arrest of Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, who was on board the plane. In what has been an unusually quick response, EU leaders have strongly condemned the action and arrest of Prostasevich and his partner, and planned further sanctions for President Lukashenko’s circle.
‘The Left in the European Parliament’ (or short GUE/NGL for ‘Gauche Unitaire Européenne/Nordic Green Left’), is the smallest group in the European Parliament with 39 MEPs from thirteen Member States. As their name already suggests, they see themselves as the political representation of workers, trade unions and social movements with their main goal being to create ‘a social EU’.
The European People’s Party (EPP) is a centre-right political group of the European Parliament. It comprises politicians of Christian-democratic, conservative and liberal-conservative alignment. The EPP was officially founded in 1976 and, with time, acquired ever more importance in the EU. It has been one of the most influential parties within the Union’s institutions for many years. In fact, it holds the record of being the largest party in the European Parliament since 1999, in the European Council since 2002, and it is the most prominent party group in the current European Commission.
Our fifth European political group under scrutiny this week is actually the fifth largest group in the European Parliament with 73 seats together. The Green/EFA, where EFA stands for European Free Alliance, is a partnership between green parties and regionalist parties in Europe.
For the group, a ‘united Europe’ has historically fostered ‘peace, prosperity and security in our globalised world’. But today that hardly built democracy is said to be threatened by multinational companies. This look back at history and at present challenges helps to understand the Green/EFA answer to today’s challenges, a “solid basis for European democracy”. In other words, the vision of the future of Europe for the Green/EFA is that of a federal Europe and for that dream to come true the group argues for some important institutional changes.
Identity and Democracy, or I&D for short, is the fifth largest political group in the European Parliament and is composed of far-right populist parties, such as the French Rassemblement National (National Rally), the Italian Lega (League), and the German Afd (Alternative for Germany. When the United Kingdom was still a member, For Britain, a far-right anti-Islam movement, was also affiliated with I&D. They currently hold 74 out of 705 seats.
On the occasion of Europe Day on May 9, the EU is kicking off the long-awaited and much-debated Conference on the Future of Europe. The events will give citizens a chance to become more involved in what is by many perceived as opaque and mysterious Brussels bubble politics. Current challenges and ideas for the future will be discussed in various formats, ranging from a multilingual dual platform through smaller decentralised events to large european citizens’ panels and conference plenaries.We are looking ahead at what the different party groups of the European Parliament (ultimately the EU’s most direct representation of its citizens) envision the EU’s future to look like. Every day this week, there will be a new article analysing another party group’s position and vision.