Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz are debating, live on France24. Glued, of course. As someone has already said on Twitter, Schulz speaks better French than Juncker. JCJ has also said that Gerhard Schröder “introduced budget discipline in Germany”. Schröder got let off for breaking the stability pact!
Anyway, we were blogging about the European Parliament getting more partisan and at the same time, more powerful. Under a deal between the political parties, they’ve agreed to veto any candidate put forward by the governments that they don’t like. This move means, paradoxically, that the side who wins the elections might be able to name the commission president.
Last week, the parliament passed a version of the latest lot of telecoms regulations that requires intra-European roaming charges to disappear by the end of 2015, makes various changes regarding how telecoms services can be marketed, and introduces quite strong net neutrality language. This included a definition of “specialised services” that basically rules out the idea of reclassifying, say, Netflix or YouTube as a specialised service carrying a fee for preferential delivery. (There’s also some dull technical stuff about spectrum management that only people like me care about.) ETNO, the European telco lobby, had been relying on the specialised services clause to kill the net neutrality element, so this bit is crucial to the whole thing.
My point, though, is that the amendments in question, numbers 234 to 236, were introduced jointly by the Socialists, the Liberals, the Greens, and the extreme-left group. It looks like the Right chose to fold when they realised they couldn’t get rid of the amendments, as the package passed by 534 votes to 25.
This starts to look like a transition from the permacoalition between the conservatives and the socialists to an alliance between the parties of the broadest possible Left. Something similar is going on in Germany, where Der Tagesspiegel has a good discussion of how a group of SPD, Green, and Left Party politicians are putting connections in place for a potential future coalition.