Czech MEP Jan Zahradil is the leader of our European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) in the European parliament, and today he circulated a memo marking the second anniversary of the Group:
Tomorrow, the 14th July, we mark the second anniversary since the formal creation of the ECR group in the European Parliament.
We have achieved so much in such a short period of time.
This morning I spoke at the launch of the six-monthly report by votewatch.eu – a website which looks at voting trends in the plenary sessions. The report and the website show that the creation of the ECR has altered the dynamic in the European Parliament.
We have broken the old ‘grand coalition’ of the Socialist and EPP groups. In so many areas of importance to our group – the internal market, trade, research and industry – we have facilitated a centre-right coalition in the parliament. When the battle is between left and right in the European Parliament, our votes are ensuring that the centre-right prevails.
Of course we have always knows that the European Parliament has a federalist majority. Whilst on certain issues we may not always be in the majority, I strongly believe we still represent a significant proportion of voters who want to see a new direction for the EU. We can be proud that we have introduced a much-needed voice of common sense and reason to an institution where ideology often prevails over practicality.
And our movement is growing – in size, in stature, in achievements and in public support.
With two Prime Ministers in the European Council and hopefully more to come we have also established ourselves across both arms of the legislative process.
Creating the first anti-federalist reformist group in the parliament was a groundbreaking move in itself. However, as every day passes we are further establishing ourselves and placing our vision for a different type of EU further up the agenda.
With the current crisis that the EU faces on so many levels – Schengen, the Eurozone, the response to the climate of austerity – now is the time for our group to replace the current outdated federalist agenda with our forward-looking vision for a different kind of EU.