Civic Democrat MEPs have established a new party together with the British Conservatives. This could be a setback for the Lisbon Treaty.
We have not become cynical “real” politicians who forgot their values and defiance of federalist Europe. We have come to terms with the Lisbon Treaty because we failed to stop it. We won’t step back any more – now, we will block the unification. That is a possible reading of the ODS entering the new European Conservatives and Reformists fraction in the European Parliament they put together with the British Conservatives and the Polish party of brothers Kaczyński.
Entering a Eurosceptic group represents a favour for the bad conscience of ODS pragmatists (Topolánek, Vondra, Zahradil). They have been twisting and turning in the schizophrenic role of opponents-proponents of the treaty in the past months and they were far from persuasive.
Their departure from the powerful European People’s Party will prove their consistence, which, however, will not do them any harm in the eyes of their pro-European voters. Low turnout at the EP elections showed how few are really interested in it, despite the fact that EP’s power will increase thanks to the Lisbon Treaty. Leaving for a smaller fraction also shows that ODS will give up the influential posts (ODS had a post of the deputy chairman in the previous parliament thanks to the membership in the People’s Party) in the name of Eurosceptic principles.
This is what the European politics of new ODS will look like: we follow our voters’ wishes and the mainstream on the important issues such as the Lisbon Treaty and we stick to our principles where it does not cost us much.
The new fraction itself can bring fresh air into the stale European Parliament, which has been operating as a world in itself lately. This situation has been significantly helped by an unwritten agreement of dividing the work between the dominant European People’s Party and the Socialists. The MEPs obediently vote in the legendary peace as if they were pre-programmed. The anonymous numbers of protocols the MEPs get with appropriate recommendation often hide norms that influence the length of working day for example.
Even though it was difficult for ODS to find common interests with the French Gaullists and German CDU, their only opposition until now was represented by at least slightly extreme right and left-wing parties.
The new fraction with 55 votes will not change much. It might, though, serve as a guard against the biggest follies planned in Strasbourg and Brussels. Unless it discredits itself by allowing a greater number of controversial Latvian Fatherland and Freedom party supporting the SS veterans marches.