Members of the European Parliament Identity and Democracy group were furious this week when mainstream parties blocked their group from gaining any positions of power on European Parliament committees. Brexit Party MEPS were also stopped.
For the European Parliament to function, the 751 MEPS are divided into 20 committees and their role is to weed through EU legislative proposals. Normally the presidents and vice presidents of these committees are chosen through an old mathematical system known as the D'Hondt method. But this week, socialist, liberal and green groups decided to join forces to block anti-EU law makers from heading any committees.
The Belgian MEP Tom Vandendriessche from the ID group told Euronews that this was a disgrace and a disrespect for democracy the parliament as an institution. And Brexit Party MEP Nathan Gill said this move showed that 'EU FEDs are obviously very nervous about the viability of their centralising project.'
But not only the far right were targeted, but also come nominees from Poland's governing Law and Justice party and Hungary's governing Fidesz. The Greens and the Socialists blocked the former Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, who hoped to preside over the Employment Committee.
In an attempt at damage control, the centre right party, the EPP, decided to postpone a vote on choosing the heads of the powerful LIBE committee that deals with Home and Justice affairs. The thing is, 3 Hungarian Fidesz MEPS hoped to be vice presidents. For one Hungarian Liberal MEP, Anna Donáth, the Libe committee will work on rule of law and could therefore not allow a party that 'destroys the rule of law'.
But despite the blockades, one prominent Hungarian MEP and good friend of Viktor Orban Tamas Deutch was elected as the number 2 of the Budgetary Control Committee that investigates the misuse of EU funds.