What do the six Luxembourgish Members of the European Parliament do?

In the European Union, every member states is represented in the European Council by either its head of state or its head of government.

In the European Parliament (EP) – which is supposed to represent the people living in the EU – people are represented by member state and according to population: the larger your population, the more seats you get in the legislative body.

However, those doing the math will soon find that if that proportional principle were applied consistently, Luxembourg would not even have one seat, because the population is simply to small. This is why the EP sets rules for both minima and maxima of seats.

In the European Parliament resolution of 7 February 2018 on the composition of the European Parliament, it is explained where the upper and under restriction lie:

“(1)  The first subparagraph of Article 14(2) of the Treaty on European Union lays down the criteria for the composition of Parliament, namely representatives of the Union’s citizens not exceeding seven hundred and fifty in number, plus the President, representation being degressively proportional, with a minimum threshold of six members per Member State, and no Member State being allocated more than ninety-six seats,”

This is how the Grand Duchy ends up with six elected members of the European Parliament. Those are, as of now:

Mady Delvaux-Stehres (LSAP/S&D), Georges Bach (CSV/EPP), Frank Engel (CSV/EPP), Charles Goerens (DP/ALDE) Christophe Hansen (CSV/EPP) and Tilly Metz (déi Gréng/ Greens-EFA).

Explainers on the European Parliament parliamentary groups:

After the European elections, elected members of the EP (referred to as “MEPs”) assemble in parliamentary groups which attempt to align on political principles. MEPs are not required to join a group, but given that they guarantee more political power, resources and speaking time, it is often a goal to join a group.

EPP: The European People’s Party group unites Christian democratic, conservative and liberal-conservative members. The Luxembourgish CSV is one of the founding members of the EPP, but has increasingly come at odds with its own group. MEPs such as Frank Engel are bemoaning a turn towards the right, and the CSV has, for a long time, demanded the expulsion of the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

The EPP group is the largest parliamentary faction in the European Parliament, yet it does not have an absolute majority. The group is currently chaired by the German CSU politician and European Commission primary candidate Manfred Weber. The EPP supported the current European Commission Juncker.

S&D: The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats unites social democrats in its group, and is currently the second most powerful faction in the EP. It is chaired by the German SPD politician Udo Bullmann. The S&D supported the current European Commission Juncker.

ECR: The European Conservatives and Reformists unites conservatives and euro-realists (often associated with eurosceptics, yet many are self-described as willing to fundamentally reform the EU towards a less powerful organisation). It is the third largest power in the EP, and currently chaired by the British Conservative Syed Kamall. The ECR did not support the current European Commission Juncker.

ALDE: The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group unites centrists and liberal democrats, is the fourth power in the EP, and currently chaired by the former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt. ALDE supported the current European Commission Juncker.

Greens-EFA: The Greens/European Free Alliance (EFA) represent environmentalist and regionalist members, is the fifth largest group in the EP, and is currently co-chaired by German Green Ska Keller and Belgian politician Philippe Lamberts. The Greens did not support the current Commission Juncker.

GUE-NGL: The European United Left–Nordic Green Left unites socialist and communist MEPs, and is currently chaired by the German Gabriele Zimmer. This group did not support the current Commission Juncker.

EFDD: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy is a eurosceptic group in the EP, currently chaired by the British MEPNigel Farage. It is the only group that specifically campaigns on the dissolution of the European Union, and did, for obvious reasons, not support the Commission Juncker.

ENF: The Europe of Nations and Freedom group unites far-right, anti-immigration, and nationalist parliamentarians, and is the smallest faction in the EP. It is currently co-chaired by the Dutch politician Marcel de Graaff and French MEP Nicolas Bay. The ENF did not yet exist during the vote on the European Commission.

Here are the activities and responsibilities of the Luxembourgish MEPs:

Mady Delvaux-Stehres (LSAP/S&D): served as Luxembourgish Minister of Transport from 1994 to 1999 and as Minister of Health, Social Security, Youth and Sport from 1989 to 1994. Delvaux is the Vice-chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), member of the Special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3), as well as the Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia (DCAS). According to VoteWatch.eu, Delvaux participates in about 90% of roll call votes, and is 94% loyal to her own political group. She is currently most known for her work on artificial intelligence and the implications for the legal systems in Europe.

Georges Bach (CSV/EPP): served as chairman of the Union of Luxembourgish railway employees SYPROLUX from 2003 to 2009. He is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN), as well as the Delegation for relations with Switzerland and Norway and to the EU-Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee and the European Economic Area (EEA) Joint Parliamentary Committee (DEEA). Bach is said to represent a more “social” wing of the EPP, constantly bemoaning the fact that his own group is to much to the right.

According to VoteWatch.eu, Bach participates in about 98.5% of roll call votes, and is 90% loyal to his own political group.

Frank Engel (CSV/EPP): joined Jacques Santer’s cabinet in the European Parliament in 1999 and became Secretary General of the CSV parliamentary group in 2001. He is the Vice-chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China (D-CN), as well as member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

According to VoteWatch.eu, Engel participates in about 86.5% of roll call votes, and is 92% loyal to his own political group. Engel is known for his opposition to the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz, and does not mince his words about his political opinions. If the play on words is allowed, you could say that for Luxembourgish politics he is usually “frank”.

Charles Goerens (DP/ALDE): served as Minister for Cooperation, Humanitarian Action, and Defence from 1999 to 2004. He is a member of the Committee on Development (DEVE), the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), and of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (DACP). According to VoteWatch.eu, Goerens participates in about 91% of roll call votes, and is 95% loyal to his own political group.

Goerens is most active on humanitarian issues, meaning he looks closely at international organisations supporting developing nations, and at instruments that allocate foreign aid.

Christophe Hansen (CSV/EPP): served as a political assistant to the former CSV MEP Astrid Lulling, and recently replaced Viviane Reding, who has resigned in the EP to run in the Luxembourgish parliamentary elections.

Hansen is a member of the Committee on International Trade (ITRE), and of the Delegation to the Cariforum-EU Parliamentary Committee (DCAR). He hasn’t participated in enough votes for a record to be established.

Tilly Metz (déi Gréng/ Greens-EFA): served as mayor of Weiler-la-Tour from 2005 to 2011, and recently replaced the MEP Claude Turmes, who resigned from the EP to replace the late Camille Gira as a secretary of state in Luxembourg.

She is a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), the Delegation for relations with the countries of the Andean Community (DAND), and the Delegation for relations with India (D-IN). According to VoteWatch.eu, Metz participates in about 91% of roll call votes, and is 99% loyal to her own political group.


This article was first published by the Luxembourg Times.

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About Bill Wirtz

My name is Bill, I'm from Luxembourg and I write about the virtues of a free society. I favour individual and economic freedom and I believe in the capabilities people can develop when they have to take their own responsibilities.

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