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MEPs launch 'Campaign for Parliament Reform'

   Wed 14/03/2001

Nine Members of the European Parliament - from five European countries and from Parliament's four largest political groups - today called for root and branch reform of the European Parliament.

MEPs launch 'Campaign for Parliament Reform'

Nine Members of the European Parliament - from five European countries and from Parliament's four largest political groups - today called for root and branch reform of the European Parliament.

The nine MEPs, who were all elected for the first time in 1999, have set up a Campaign for Parliament Reform (CPR), the primary purpose of which will be to co-ordinate the work of reformist MEPs in Parliament's different political groups and committees.

The launch of the Campaign is the direct result of the failure to draw up a Statute for MEPs. Talks between Parliament and Council on the MEP Statute broke down at the end of last year, not least because of strong opposition to a transparant pay and expenses deal within Parliament itself.

The nine MEPs have drawn up a ten-point reform agenda (attached), which will guide them in the next three and a half years. While they realise that they cannot hope to implement their action plan in full, they believe that by working together, across political group and committee lines, they can bring new impetus to the reform effort. Although the MEPs involved in the Campaign do not necessarily hold the same view on every aspect of the reform agenda, breathing new life into the reform debate is a key objective they all share.

The Campaign's first priority is to revive the talks on the MEP Statute. It will do so by asking MEPs to sign up to a written declaration, setting out the principles which should underpin such a Statute. The Campaign considers that the last substantive vote on the issue, taken in December 1998 in the old Parliament, can no longer be taken as representing Parliament's views.

A Campaign website will be launched in the next few weeks. The site will serve as a source of information for MEPs and journalists and will also be used to encourage citizens to express their views on Parliament reform.

The nine MEPs are:

Kathalijne Buitenweg (NL, Greens/EFA) Nick Clegg (UK, ELDR) Chris Heaton-Harris (UK, EPP-ED) Michiel van Hulten (NL, PES) Piia-Noora Kauppi (FIN, EPP-ED) Lousewies van der Laan (NL, ELDR) Cecilia Malmström (SV, ELDR) Catherine Stihler (UK, PES) Helle Thorning-Schmidt (DK, PES)

The Campaign will be launched at a press conference in Strasbourg on Wednesday 14 March at 10 am 10-point action plan for Parliament reform

1. Agreement on a MEP Statute as soon as possible (in time for the 2004 elections at the very latest)

2. A transparent system of MEP expenses on the basis of actual costs incurred

3. Publication of MEPs' financial interests on the internet

4. A Statute for Parliamentary assistants

5. A single seat for the European Parliament - in Brussels

6. Reform of Parliament's rules of procedure (the 'Provan' proposals): improving Committee and plenary proceedings

7. Ensuring the language regime is ready for enlargement

8. Strict rules on the financing of European political parties

9. Full access to parliamentary documents and information for Europe's citizens

10. Modernisation of Parliament's administration and management


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