Forty years since the first direct elections to the EP: The making of a new political institution

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Forty years since the first direct elections to the EP: The making of a new political institution

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On the third of April, the Former Members Association, the European Parliament Research Service (EPRS) and the European University Institute (EUI) co-organised a policy roundtable on Forty years since the first direct elections to the EP: The making of a new political institution chaired by Anthony Teasdale, Director General of the European Parliamentary Research Service. Former European Parliament Presidents Enrique Barón Crespo, Pat Cox, Klaus Hänsch and Hans-Gert Pöttering, and Former European Parliament Vice-President for Conciliations Charlotte Cederschiöld, participated to the discussion and shared their insight on this exceptional anniversary of democracy as well as their ideas on the upcoming European Parliament elections in May. Dieter Schlenker, Director of the EU Historical Archives, moderated the panel.

The first Expert Panel focused on the ’79-’89 Parliaments and their impact on the Parliaments’ culture, Europe’s economic development and the efforts to broaden the impact of the Parliament on European politics. Prof. Wassenberg, Prof. Kaiser and Prof. Warlouzet, stressed the importance of the FMA members who provided relevant first-hand testimonies.
During the Second Panel the Presidents took the floor and praised the evolution of the Parliament. President Pöttering acknowledged that there was an initial ‘democratic deficit’ but that this is no longer the case. Now Parliament plays a crucial role in the legislation process. Vice-President Charlotte Cederschiöld confirmed this point and President Hänsch added: “This Parliament should not seek to be or to become like the national parliaments. It is different and it must remain different.”

President Cox shared his concern about rising nationalism and anti-European tendencies but called to stand up for Europe by citing Jean Monnet “I am neither pessimist nor optimist, I am merely determined.” He recognised that the decline of voter turnout is an issue of governance and legitimacy. President Barón Crespo opened his speech by reminding the figure of the President of the first directly elected European Parliament, Simone Veil, who embodied the dignity of Europe. He concluded by mentioning that movements for the emancipation of women or climate change, with youth at its core, are a promising outlook for the future of the European project.

Details

Date:
April 3, 2019
Time:
12:00 am
Event Category:

Venue

European Parliament
Rue Wiertz 60
Brussels, 1050 Belgium
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