Tag Archives: mep

Läheb vist valimisteks! // Return of Democracy!


The IT (Indrek Tarand) Initiative is my extraordinary bid (as an independently elected member of the Greens/EFA Group) to be elected into the Bureau of the European Parliament. Besides the fact that Estonia is well-recognised IT power state, which coincidentally takes on the responsibilities of the rotating EU presidency in second half of 2017, there are other, more intrinsic reasons to be considered. So indeed, why should you support me for one of the 14 vice presidents of the European Parliament?

1. To refresh a somewhat rigid system by holding true elections

It sounds a bit radical, doesn’t it? In reality it is nothing more than political pluralism, a cornerstone of true democracy, which by definition means actual elections instead of appointments by acclamation.

We all are used to the fact, that the current system  leads to confirming foregone conclusions. How should one act when the leader of the S&D Group, Mr. Pitella, has announced the end of the Grand Coalition? Perhaps to prevent the collapse of the established reliable system, and thereby introducing total change, we could just hit “refresh” by bringing in an independent candidate from a small group and even smaller member state?

2. To give a fair chance to smaller players

We all understand that the size of the population and of the economy matter in determining member state’s “weight” in taking our common decisions. While it is true that the smaller states are protected by the so-called regressive proportionality, it is next to impossible to imagine an MEP from a country like Estonia ever becoming a member of the bureau in EP. Why? Because the size of the so-called national delegation matters as well. For example – the Estonian delegation in EPP, S&D, ALDE and Greens consist of only the heads of delegations themselves (read 1 member only).  In EPP it equals to power of 1/200, in the Greens 1/50th. However, it is impossible to become a candidate even in the Greens/EFA Group, because you may represent 18% of your country’s electorate (same proportion as Greens in Austria), but you still have one vote against Austrian 3.  Hence the only option for a MEP from such a tiny country to become a candidate is with 40 plus signatures.

3. Ideas to be tested and perhaps executed 

My promise is simple and does not echo the powerful, but sometimes non-specific phrases about „even more Europe”. Yes, I am truly pro-European, but I take a very pragmatic view about what there is to be done in order to restore the citizen’s trust in the union.

One of the few things to be attempted is to enhance the role of the Parliament as an equal co-legislator. This requires a review of our ability to influence budgetary performance of the Union in general, starting with our own institution. The smallest excess in our own spending or slightest mishap regarding transparency may damage our institution more than any anti-European rhetoric can. We must be exemplary in our dealings, which in turn would give us a more authoritative position vis-à-vis other institutions (as executer of parliamentary scrutiny).

In the budgetary aspect, there are three main players in the European Parliament, namely the BUDG and CONT committees, but also the bureau. Currently members from these two committees are not represented in the bureau. I am already a member of both committees, and thereby I would provide the missing link if elected to the bureau.

As a firm supporter of good digital solutions such as AT4AM and e-Portal, which have somewhat alleviated our administrative burden, I pledge to continue on this forward thinking path (by pushing for more innovative and user-friendly solutions as a VP).

I support Gender balance, and these are not just empty words, I have been promoting the inclusion of women in the public sector since the mid-90s when I was director general of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and had to set up the whole diplomatic corps after the fall of the Soviet Union).

Furthermore, I will provide:

-Respect and fair treatment to all MEPs. Meaning that Rules of Procedure should be applied in a fair and uniform way to all of MEPs and political groups, no matter the colour or background.

-Openness to engage with each member, and to accommodate their thoughts and ideas to improve the everyday handling of business as well as to increase the power of the Parliament.

Hommik Euroopa Parlamendis rahvusvahelisel Naistepäeval

Maja on dekoreeritud materjaliga, mis meenutab 100 aasta täitumist Clara Zetkini naistepäeva initsiatiivist. Plenaaristungi saalis on paar minutit enne üheksat vähe inimesi. Eestigi valimised on jätnud oma jälje, ühtegi kaasmaalast ma ei märka… Peale minu on ennast registreerinud veel Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez.  Istungi juhataja kohale ilmub täpselt kell 9:00, sel korral on juhatajaks asepresident Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou

 Asepresident Diana Wallis tuleb ja uurib minult, et ega me pole istungi algusajaga eksinud ja äkki algab kell 10. Samas on kohal juba 28 liiget: märkan Eelarvekomisjoni esimeest Alain Lamassoure’i, liberaalide variraportöör Alexander Alvarot ja roheliste varju Helga Trüpelit, isegi Küprose kommunisti Kyriacos Triantaphyllidest

 Raportöör José Manuel Fernandes seletab sissejuhatavas 4-minutilises kõnes, et tema eesmärk on administratiivkulutusi “konsolideerides efektiivsust saavutada”. Kaheminutise selgitusega esineb Komisjoni eelarvevolinik Janusz Lewandowski. Poliitiliste rühmade kõnelejad alustavad.  Nagu ikka fraktsioonide suuruse järjekorras ja vastavalt suurusele ka ajalimiiti saades.

 Saksa saadik Monika Hohlmeier torkab kohe, et on väga paha, kui selliselt arutelult puuduvad nii mõlemad eelarve eest vastutavad asepresidendid kui ka parlamendi peasekretär. Järgneb aplaus.  Proua lisab, et EP mitu asukohta on kulukad, kuid siiski ei kasva parlamendi eelarve mõõdutundetult, vaid vajadusi arvesse võtvalt. Sotside nimel kõneleb Derek Vaughan, kes istub minuga samas reas, 11 kohta edasi. Meie vahel pole kedagi, sestap saan hästi ka näha, mitte üksnes kuulata.  “2% kasv on liiga kõrge, meie peame leidma kokkuhoiu kohti.  Leian, et uut maja pole võimalik ehitada ametkonnale. Ja kärpima peab kulutusi, mida teevad Regioonide Komitee ja EcoSoc (Majandus ja Sotsiaalkomitee), mis on eraldiseisvad ja minu hinnangul ka üpriski kasutud institutsioonid). Järgmisena ALDE nimel Alexander Alvaro: “me peame kärpima kulutusi, kuid mitte investeeringute arvelt ja just täna infotehnoloogiasse tehtud kulutused võivad homme kokkuhoidu anda!”

 Rodi Kratsa informeerib, et Monika Hohlmeieri kriitikast innustatult on nüüd saalis ka EP peasekretär härra Klaus Welle!

Helga Trüpel kannab kõlaval häälel ette roheliste positsiooni, tuues välja Euroopa ajaloo maja jaoks kulutamise. Ta kritiseerib José Manuel Fernandese raportit, kus pole tehtud kärpeid, vaid konsolideerimise nime all kasvatatakse hoopis kulusid. Briti Konservatiiv Elles ründab kriitikanooltega kulutusi parlamendi turvateenistusele: “Kulutame küll, aga ei suuda omas majas ära hoida pangarööve ja postkontori vargusi!” põrutab ta.  EFD Fraktsiooni nimel saab sõna Marta Andreasen, kes on tüütanud varem ka Euroopa Kontrollikojas ja kogunud tuntust Euroopa Liidu kulutuste ja raiskamise kriitikuna. Ka täna jääb ta truuks oma stiilile: “On häbiväärselt piinlik, et tõstsime assistentide palku! Ja ma lisan, et Euroopa Välisteenistus on palganud juba 50 inimest palgaga, mis on suurem kui Suurbritannia peaministril!  Hääletagem selle raporti vastu!” Üksikmeeste nimel kõneleb Angelika Werthmann. Kuna Helga Trüpel näitab mulle samal ajal, millistesse positsioonidesse kõne all olevad kulud tegelikult peidetud on, siis ei pane ma tähele, millest tema kõneleb…

 Edasi võtavad sõna liikmed iseenda, mitte gruppide nimel. Härra Giovanni La Via (EPP) õnnitleb raportööri suure töö eest, sest halduskulude eelarvestamine on peen ja keeruline asi. Leiab, et tarvis läheb “legislatiivset ekstsellentsi ning konsolideeritud efektiivsust.”  Vaat see on juba keel, mida eurokraadid mõistavad!:) Ta põhjendab kulude kasvu majanduse elavdamise eesmärgiga. SDE poolelt Jens Geier: “Miks me kärbime, on vaja määratleda! Loomulikult on olukord meie ehitistega murelik, aga ma ei leia, et Parlament peaks ostma uusi maju. Eriti Brüsselis, kus kinnisvarahinnad kerkivad. Rendime ehk ja ootame nende langemist!”  Anne Jensen (ALDE) tulistab, et kärpima peab hakkama teisi institutsioone, ennekõike Kontrollkoda ja  Ombudsmani eelarveid. Ja viskab õhku küsimuse, et miks pole planeeritud varu Horvaatia võimaliku liitumisega kaasnevateks kulutusteks. Claudio Morganti osutab, et algselt nullkuluga kavandatud Välisteenistus sööb raha nagu Moolok, kuid ühtsest välispoliitikast oleme kaugemal kui kunagi varem.

 Saabub asepresident Gianni Pitella, kes on üks eelarve eest vastutav asepresident. Raül Romeva i Rueda tuleb ja annab mulle teada, et ta on liitunud minu algatatud kirjaliku deklaratsiooniga.  Raul tuleb istungile tegelikult järgmise päevakorra punkti pärast, mis teda eriliselt huvitab – naiste õigused. Ville Itälä (Soome) pilkab ka turvateenistust ning nendib, et eelkõneleja James Ellesil oli õigus, kui soovitas eeskuju otsida USA Kongressi turvasüsteemist. Lühidad repliigid ka Jaroslav Paška ja Sidonia Elżbieta Jedrzejewska poolt ning algab “catch the Eye” protseduur. Üha enam liitub istungiga Euroopa Naiste Olukorra päevakorraga puutes olijaid: Marc Tarabella, Siiri Oviir, Jarek Wałęsa, Franziska Brantner ja Marije Cornelissen tulevad reipalt vadistades ja naerdes, vaimulik Mitro Repo võtab koha sisse. Samal ajal võtabki Gianni Pitella mikrofoni ning rõhutatult kaunis Itaalia keeles jääb kõlama: “meie raport vastab heale majandamistavale ning tähtis on signaal kodanikele, et kasv ei ole suurem Euroopa keskmisest inflatsioonist.” Austerlane Paul Rübig osutab, et kui kellelegi ei meeldi assistentide palgatõus, siis võib ta ju selle raha maksumaksjatele tagasi maksta. Paljud ju ei kasuta assistente, sest nad ei käi parlamenditööl kuigi sageli, märgib ta sarkastiliselt lisaks. Kasutan juhust ja teen ka remargi, et Microsoftile litsentside tasumise kõrval saaks kokkuhoidu ka vaba lähtekoodiga tarkvara kasutusse võttes. Mitro Repo annab sõbralikkuse märgiks väikese aplausigi:)

Kuna Janusz Lewandowski enam lõppsõna ei taha, siis raportöör võtab otsad kokku rõhutades, et assistendi palkamiseks peab lisaraha andma ja seda tehakse MEPide palganumbri mittetõstmise arvelt. MEP palgad ei tõuse seega ka 2012. aastal.

 

Selline hommik siis ja lähebki lahti naisküsimuse arutelu. Mina lähen neidsinaseid ridu kirjutama ja “Let`s do it World” prügikoristuskampaaniat propageerima.

European electoral reform


The procedure in question is a report by veteran UK liberal MEP Andrew DUFF which is a proposal for a modification of the Act concerning the election of the Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage of September 20, 1976.

The work on creating a common electoral law has been going on for a long time already, since 1976. Why? From the constitutional perspective, it is a very important law which needs to be updated every now and then. The reform will introduce a number of changes to the present act – i.e. establishment of transnational voting lists.

The report comes amid continuing concern about the so-called “democratic deficit” between the EU and citizens, and the democratic function of the European Parliament is acknowledged by the public only to a certain extent. On the European level, political parties are rather still at the beginning of their development and the electoral battles take place more on the national than European level. It would then mean that the candidates could be set up in both transnational and national constituencies.

Some more examples of the changes the reform would introduce:

  • Preferential semi-open list system – citizens have the right to vote for both an individual candidate and for a list.
  • Territorial constituencies on a regional basis should be introduced in all those States with a population of more than 20 million.
  • The total number of elected Members shall be 751, with a minimum of six Members per State, and a maximum of 96.
  • An electoral authority, comprised of representatives of the EP, the Commission and each Member State, shall be established to conduct and verify the electoral process of the EU constituency.
  • EU-wide lists submitted by the European political parties shall be admissible only: a) if composed of candidates from at least 1/3 of the States, and b) if gender-balanced.
  • Each voter shall have one extra vote that he or she can give to an EU constituency candidate.
  • There shall be no minimum threshold for the allocation of seats from the EU constituency.
  • The minimum age to be eligible to vote in the European parliamentary elections will be 16; the minimum age to be eligible will be 18; this provision should encourage young people to participate more in elections.
  • Candidates may stand at the same election both for EU-wide and national or regional constituencies.
  • Polling days for the elections to the European Parliament shall be a Saturday and Sunday in May. It would be for this very reason that the EP could then organise its work more smoothly and therefore accelerate the election of the new President of the Commission. It would also allow to avoid the beginning of the summer recess in many member states. Right now polling days for the elections run from Thursday to Sunday in June.
  • If the e-polling is guaranteed to be reliable in both technical and legal terms, the e-polling techniques shall be used as soon as the 2014 elections.

For more information, please read:

Europarliament: “On a proposal for a modification of the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage of 20 September 1976(2007/2207(INI))”