Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Dreams of Presidency (3)

The EUobserver has interviewed Graham Watson, the leader of the Liberal Group in the EP who is hoping to become the President of the European Parliament after the European elections. The suggestion that the EPP and the PES have already decided on the next two presidents does not bode well for Watson's campaign. German Liberal MEP Alexander Alvaro, though he supports Watson's candidature as a positive move, has said in an interview that without a PES-EPP split, Watson's chances are "close to zero". (Alvaro's interview covers a lot of other topics related to the EP elections).

Several issues are covered in Watson's interview, including ALDE's prospects at the next election (Watson hopes to retain the same proportion of seats, of course), the environmental impact of the EP, and his campaign for the presidency. While he highlights the need to bring the EP, and the EU as a whole, closer to citizens, no specific examples of how this could be achieved were given.

Watson has a website especially set up for his campaign, and there's a section where you can ask him questions, if you want to be more activist.


  1. As criticised previously (http://julienfrisch.blogspot.com/2009/01/ep-elections-2009-34-european-liberals.html), a big problem is also that this candidature of Watson for EP presidency is more a sign of weakness than of strength: Instead of nominating a visible figure for EC President, ELDR/ALDE could just agree to put forward an almost unknown person for EP President.

  2. And I agree with that 100%. I find Watson's claims to have built up the group's strength a bit strange too, since I can't really see what affect he can have.
    It's extremely disappointing that every party has shown itself to have not even the basic political courage required to run a election campaign.

    However the parties are unlikely to change before the election, especially since the EPP have admitted that it will be almost solely national parties who will drive their campaign. The only positive developments have been the PES manifesto and Watson's "presidental" campaign.

    Despite the weakness of these two, I think Watson is making the right sounds generally. I know my posts must come across as very naively optimistic about the impact it can have (and I'm fully aware how unlikely it is to be successful), but I'll wait a bit longer to see what Watson does.

    I might ask a few questions myself about how he can drum up interest in the elections, since that's the whole point. And see if he's as open to suggestions or questions as his website appears.