•The European Parliament (20.5.2013) has rejected a motion put to it by Stuart Agnew MEP (UKIP) on behalf of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group, which called for a legal opinion to be obtained to confirm whether bringing forward the date of the 2014 European elections would be lawful. Mr Agnew’s motion asked for the Plenary vote due this week on the date change (from June to May 2014) to be delayed pending the legal opinion.
Mr Agnew pointed out that the relevant legislation concerning the election of members of the European Parliament states that the date can be changed ‘if it is impossible to hold the elections on that date’.
He said: “Two reasons have been publicly advanced for changing the dates in 2014. The desire to install a new Commission by the end of July, apparently more time is required. Secondly, Germany has a public holiday on the 8th June 2014. In my view, neither of these reasons makes it impossible to hold the election on the date that the law requires. Thus we are concerned that the proposed change of date is not lawful.
“To avoid the risk of legal action by a political party dissatisfied with the date, the legal basis for this decision must be established properly. For that reason, we say that it should not be the subject of a vote tomorrow (21.5.13) and that it should go back to Committee for further consideration of this important point.”
The Parliament voted on the motion and rejected it.
Commenting after the vote, Mr Agnew said: “This Parliament has very little respect for the law. To steamroller a change of this magnitude through so close to the election, without being 100% sure of its legality really is dangerous and contemptuous of due process. We all know that this is an attempt to artificially generate a better turn out for the European Election by holding it at the same time as the local elections. Breaking the law will not give this Parliament the democratic legitimacy it so anxiously seeks.”