Although a young group the ECR is already an influential force in the European Parliament arguing for a flexible, open and non-federalist agenda. The ECR in now represented on all the major committees of the European Parliament, including the Conference of Presidents, as well as holding the chairmanship of the Parliament’s Internal Market committee. The ECR’s membership also includes two former national finance ministers, while outside the European Parliament the eight ECR constituent parties are parties of Government in two EU Member States: the UK and the Czech Republic. The ECR has already proved pivotal in the re-election of the President of the European Commission Jose Barroso.
All of the establishing parties and MEPs believe that the establishment of a non-federalist centre/centre-right group in the European parliament is good for European democracy. We are delighted with the progress we have already made but there is far more that can be achieved together in reforming the EU in line with the peoples’ priorities.
Brief History of the ECR Group:
Because of the shared belief of Conservative Party and ODS in a non federal Europe both parties in 2004 when the Czech Republic joined the European Union became members of the European Democrats’ (ED) wing of the European People’s Party – European Democrats (EPP-ED) delegation in the European Parliament. As members of the ED wing of the EPP-ED Conservative Party and ODS were [under Article 5b of the EPP-ED’s statute] allowed a measure of freedom to promote its own views on European institutional and constitutional questions. However, both delegations in the European Parliament soon found that their freedom to argue for an open, flexible and non federal Europe was constrained by the realities of being tied to the larger EPP.
Having decided that attempting to gain more political and financial autonomy for the ED, would be difficult to arrange and would not create the powerful centre right non federalist voice the European Parliament and European democracy requires.
In 2006 in order to better campaign for their shared vision of an open non federalist European Union David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party and Mirek Topolanek, the leader of the Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and then Prime Minister, announced their intention to form a new group in the European Parliament after the 2009 elections. Both parties also entered discussions with like-minded parties in Europe with the perspective of creating the independent group capable of advocating a European reformist non federalist agenda. The Conservative Party and ODS were soon joined in their debates and efforts by the Polish Law and Justice Party that also voiced its interest in the forming of the new non federalist and reform group.
How are MEPs elected?
A majority of Member States use a voting method called the d’Hondt system to elect their MEPs.
In the ECR Group, the UK, the Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Hungary and the Netherlands all use this method for allocation.
In Short, the d’Hondt system is a ‘highest average method’ for allocating seats in a party list system and works on the principle that the political party’s vote total is divided by a specific number that is generated as the system progresses- (the number of seats plus one.)
The allocation of seats continues in this way until all the seats have been allocated to a political party.
The system is also used in practice for the allocation between political groups of a large number of posts (Vice Presidents, committee chairmen and vice-chairmen, delegation chairmen and vice-chairmen) in the European Parliament.
It may sound complicated but in practice it is relatively straightforward. We invite you to try the method yourself at:
As a result of the method the ECR Group currently has:
One Committee President: Malcolm Harbour (UK) – Internal Market
One Vice-President of the European Parliament: Oldřich Vlasák (CZ)
7 Vice Presidents:
- Robert Sturdy (UK) – International Trade
- Peter Van Dalen (NL) Transport
- Struan Stevenson (UK) – Fisheries
- Evzen Tosenovsky (CZ) – Industry
- Nirj Deva (UK) – Development
- Syed Kamall (UK) – Constitutional Affairs
- Janusz Wojciechowski (PL) – Agriculture
Our positions in the European Parliament help us to punch above our weight and put into real practice our Prague declaration principles.
It is no secret that the ECR Group wishes to reform and change how the European Union works. We hope to attract more and more MEPs to our cause and become an even more significant player in the European Parliament in particular and the EU institutions as a whole. When we achieve this we can, under d’Hondt, secure more key positions and forward our reformist agenda.
You can find out more here.