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Kamall and Stevens: Schulz's departure should signal a rethink in the Grand Coalition stitch-up of the European Parliament


24 Nov 2016


Global Europe

Strasbourg, 24th November 2016 -- With the announcement that Martin Schulz will leave the European Parliament, European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group leader Syed Kamall and ECR candidate to replace Schulz as parliament President Helga Stevens have called on the parliament to use the opportunity to rethink how it works, and especially how the 'Grand Coalition' operates. 

Syed Kamall MEP said: 

"I have always enjoyed a good personal relationship with Martin Schulz and I wish him well in the future. However, nobody can deny Schulz has been the master of the backroom stitch-up.  

"Now that Mr Schulz is leaving an opportunity has presented itself for the European Parliament to rethink entirely how it is being run and for the EPP and S&D groups to seriously ask if the Grand Coalition he leads has been healthy for democracy and transparency.  

"For the past 30 months, decisions about the future of the EU have been made by five men from four 'old' EU states stitching-up every major issue, and with the socialists getting their way more often than not. With the figurehead of the European Parliament's backroom dealing now leaving, the Grand Coalition should seriously ask if its conduct is increasing or undermining people's perceptions of the European Parliament."  

Helga Stevens MEP from Flanders, who was the first candidate to announce she is seeking to replace Schulz in the January elections, said:  

"Nobody can deny that Martin Schulz has propelled the parliament into the forefront of EU decision-making. However, where he failed was in concentrating that power and influence in the hands of just a few men rather than in the hands of all 751 MEPs who collectively represent the plurality and diversity of European voters.  

"Decisions about the future of the EU should be made by all 751 MEPs in open debate, not by three men from the parliament meeting with two men from the commission in a hotel backroom.  

"With Martin Schulz now leaving the parliament we have an opportunity to change how the institution is run so that every voice matters and all MEPs can finally have a say in the future of our European Union. We can see a true cultural change in how the European Parliament works that will restore people's faith in the parliament as a forum of open debate and noble causes, not of backroom dealing.  

"The next President of the European Parliament should seek to bring MEPs together, not to divide them.  

"This is the platform on which I will seek to replace Martin Schulz in January, and I believe it is the only platform that can reconnect the European Parliament with the people who feel it does not represent their views."