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Monday 11.12.2017 | Name days: Valdis, Voldemārs, Valdemārs
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European Parliament is elected. What next?

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUCentrist forces received the majority of support in the European Parliament elections. Election results in Latvia comply with the political mood in the continent.

Latvia wants stability

Unity turned as the absolute triumphant in the elections in Latvia – the party received 46.19% of votes. This provides Unity with four seats in the European parliament. Saeima deputies Valdis Dombrovskis and Artis Pabriks will enter the parliament. The same applies to current MEPs Sandra Kalniete and Arturs Krisjanis Karins.

Four other parties have managed to overcome the 5% barrier needed to enter the EP. Each party will receive one seat in the parliament:

-the National Alliance received 14.25% of votes. This party will be represented by Roberts Zile;

-Social democratic party Harmony has received 13.04% of votes. Journalist Andrei Mamikin will represent this party in the European Parliament;

-the Union of Greens and Farmers (8.26%) will be represented by Iveta Grigule;

-Latvian Russians Union (6.38%) will be represented by Tatyana Zhdanok.

One deputy is not much in Europe

Europe has elected a total of 751 MEPs. The majority then join one of the many factions of the European Parliament. During votes, they stick to political views of their factions – all MEPs vote in line with their colleagues in 99% of votes.

Latvian voters have essentially cast their votes in favour of one of the factions, this depends on which of the available factions the elected MEPs will choose. This is why it is only natural to study the alignment of power within EP and determine which camp Latvian MEPs will choose.

Who will rule over Europe?

According to preliminary results, the largest factions in the EP have lost several seats, but nevertheless maintain their positions.

On a European level, Jean-Claude Juncker’s European People’s Party is the winner of EP elections. This political power received the majority of votes (28.23%). This party will receive a total of 215 seats in the new parliament (265 in the previous one).

Unity’s MEPs will enter this faction, and the newly re-elected MEPs Sandra Kalniete and Arturs Krisjanis Karins are already members of this faction.

Among the main political objective of this faction are the increase of competitiveness of the European Union, creation of new jobs and reduction of economic gaps among regions of the union. The party supports responsibility in matters of public finances and budgets with no deficit.

The party also emphasizes the use of strict sanctions against Russia. The only limit is said to be making sure things do not end up in war. This is a particularly important matter for Latvia, which shares borders with Russia.

The main plans for the future include: a common EU digital market, common energy policy, the party also supports a more coordinated policy for the entire union and allocation of support for member states that are in the process of development. Regulation of lobbying activities suggests that EU officials will be obligated to publish a list of their known associates who participate in the development of drafts.

The number of seats the party has received does not allow it to act without allies in other factions. This is why the work of the new EP will consist of a search for compromises.

Four or five

It is likely that a total of five Unity representatives will leave for Europe. This is because Valdis Dombrovskis had previously abandoned his original intentions to become a candidate for the post of the head of the European Commission.

Dombrovskis is likely to be given the post of a European commissioner. He will likely work in the sphere of finances and economics. Considering this possibility, it is also likely that his MEP mandate will be given to another Unity representative – Inese Vaidere.

According to proper procedure, European commissioner candidates are selected by national governments. Dombrovskis can expect 100% support in this regard. The only obstacle is the examination procedure and approval by MEPs.

Together in Europe, separate at home

It is likely that the European Parliament will have something that is impossible in the Saeima: representatives of Unity and Harmony may become coalition partners.

This scenario is likely because Andrei Mamikin plans to join Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). This political power is the most likely coalition partner for the People’s Party.

According to preliminary results of elections, social-democrats have gained the second place in elections (24.63% of votes and 185 seats in the parliament).

Representatives of the alliance claim they plan to focus on resolving social problems – primarily the problem of youth unemployment. The chosen method: combating tax avoidance and optimization schemes.

The group believes the EU should offer more loan opportunities for enterprises. The union itself should perform strategic investments in development.

Left-wing centrists support sanctions against Russia, but still emphasize the need for talks.

In terms of the EU migration policy, the party sees a solution in creating a common European legislation system. He party is also in favour of refugee protection.

Smaller groups

The numbers of other factions do not reach 100 MEPs. Other elected Latvian representatives will join up with these groups.

The National Alliance’s representative Roberts Zile will continue his work in the group of European Conservatives and Reformists, where he holds the post of Praesidium member. It is a relatively small faction in the European Parliament. It has received a total of 44 seats in the parliament and 5.86% of votes.

Tatyana Zhdanok will continue her cooperation with the Greens and European Free Alliance, where she holds the post of deputy Chairwoman. This group has received a total of 7.32% of votes and 55 seats in the parliament.

It is not yet known which faction has been chosen by Iveta Grigule. UGF continues to discuss this matter, because representatives of this party were never elected in the EP in the past.

Radicals are far away from victory

Euro-sceptics and radical forces of several countries have performed an expected and successful leap forward.

Nevertheless, experts of the Latvian Foreign Policy Institute believe even if radicals would join forces, they would receive no more than 140 seats in the EP. This means they would not have any significant impact on legislative processes. Analysts believe radicals may gain a couple of important posts.

Experts also predict that EU-sceptical powers will likely focus on popularizing their ideas. However, the new EP will be more complex from a political standpoint.

The proportion of pro-European forces will be 500-530 votes out of 721.

Euro-overheat

As it was expected, a total of 14 Latvian parties and 170 candidates had participated in EP elections.

Activity of voters was record-low this time: only 30% of voters (445,225 citizens) had come to election sites this time around. A total of 440,288 ballots were approved.

Experts say the anomalous heat in Latvia was to blame for such low activity. Another factor is that residents are not all that educated in the mechanisms of the European Parliament. Scepticism in regard to the European Union as a whole and general dissatisfaction with the current government in Latvia may have played a role as well.

Euro-optimists, on the other hand, are sad that voters who choose to ignore elections do not pay much attention to political developments in general and the global situation, which will undoubtedly impact residents of Latvia. This includes the impact of sanctions against Russia and the trade treaty with USA.

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  1. mike walsh says:

    What is next? Here is what’s next. “Since 2009, MEPs receive a monthly salary of €7,957 and expenses of €4,299 a month ($5,860), which they can use to claim travel to Brussels and Strasbourg from their constituencies.

    A separate travel allowance of €4,243, which MEPs can use to pay for trips on official business to other destinations. They can also claim for up to 24 return journeys to their home countries.

    “Being an MP is a truly wonderful job,” David Craig, who wrote the book ‘The Great European Rip-off. I calculated with all the expenses that they get paid for example MEP’s will save up from a million to a €1.5 million, while living a lifestyle where they can drink champagne every single night and eat the best food and travel first class.”

    MEPs are also able to claim €304 as a daily allowance, just for doing their job and attending parliament. It is intended to cover hotel bills and meals. However it has led to abuses of the system, according to Craig.

    And people actually elect them? Do you laugh or do you cry?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. amazon says:

    Here is a good review of this book from Amazon:

    I bought this in an attempt to understand both sides of the argument. Unfortunately it becomes somewhat apparent from reading just the first few pages that this account is not based on ‘insider knowledge’, but from cherry-picking inaccurate information from ill-informed people. As a previous reviewer notes, it’s impossible for the EU to be costing the taxpayer 1,000 billion a year (it assumes somewhat that no other country actually contributes), as well as assuming that there are absolutely no benefits to EU membership, which even the most Eurosceptic of politicians don’t agree with (i.e. benefits of free trade!).

    What I find a real shame is that it gives those more sceptical about Europe a bad name. Europe has good and bad points, and if we are to get necessary reform of those parts we do not like, we should be engaging in fact and value-based discourse, not tabloid sensationalism.

    If you are a Eurosceptic looking for something to anger you and ‘confirm your beliefs’ by all-means, buy it. If you are looking for something non-fiction, steer well clear.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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