“You must vote Yes, independently of the question asked”, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told the Greek people on Monday (29 June). It sounds like a wild statement. But in fact, Greek voters will indeed not know precisely what they are voting on in the referendum on Sunday. Shortly after Juncker spoke on Monday the…
Luxemburgers have resoundingly rejected a proposal to let foreign residents vote in national elections, a move that would have been a first in Europe and could have expanded the electorate of the tiny but cosmopolitan Grand Duchy by as much as 50 percent. In Sunday’s consultative referendum, only about 22 percent supported the proposal, part of a modernizing agenda backed by liberal Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. There were also clear majorities against lowering the voting age to 16 from 18 and introducing 10-year term limits for ministers, following the 19-year rule of Bettel’s conservative predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker, now the EU’s chief executive.
United Kingdom: EU referendum voting rights will not be extended to all UK citizens living abroad | The Guardian
The government has ruled out extending the right to vote in the upcoming EU referendum to all British citizens living abroad, despite a promise made by the Conservative party chairman that it would. The EU referendum bill, which will be announced after the Queen’s speech on Wednesday, will make clear that the franchise – the people eligible to vote – will be the same as in general elections, which is adults from the age of 18, Irish and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK, and British citizens who have lived abroad for less than 15 years.
European Commission President and former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has refused to comment on the upcoming June 7 referendum and the foreigner voting rights question. Questioned about the issue by the “Luxemburger Wort”, Juncker did not comment, with his press office later issuing a statement that the Commission in principle thinks that it is important “to support the participation of EU citizens in the democratic life of the EU.” The statement does not, however, address the specific question at hand in Luxembourg.
Ukraine: Merkel, Juncker Say EU’s Russia Sanctions to Stay After Eastern Ukraine Elections | Wall Street Journal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new European Commission president said there was no prospect in sight of scaling back sanctions on Russia, maintaining a tough stance after Moscow embraced the results of a separatist election in eastern Ukraine. Ms. Merkel said in Berlin on Wednesday that the European Union should consider expanding its sanctions list to include the winners of Sunday’s local voting. The EU, Kiev and the U.S. have refused to recognize the elections and said that Russia’s refusal to condemn them are a breach of a September cease-fire. “We should also have another look at the list of specific individuals who now have responsibility in eastern Ukraine due to these illegitimate elections,” Ms. Merkel told reporters. “Otherwise I think we should maintain the sanctions we have.”
For the first time in the EU, you will hear, we have a broad choice. We can vote for a specific candidate for the post of the European Commission president, not only for members of the European Parliament. The candidates of the biggest political families in Europe were selected in the American style – some more democratically (via primaries), others via the ordinary party procedure. Whatever the manner, they are already touring European cities and capitals competing for our vote. They even call their campaign with the same term as in the US – campaign trail. The culmination will be on May 15th when the five candidates will appear together in a debate which will be broadcast live within the Eurovision network and online. To sum up, European democracy in action. There is no doubt that it is more than exciting that, finally, the EU will come to us instead of us constantly going to the EU. The European political parties will fight for our vote, they will present us their ideas, plans, visions about the future of the Union not from the distant Brussels, but they will come in our capitals and cities. They will try to balance between nationalists, austerians, spenders, Germans, Greeks, the north and the south, the east and the west, between Euro-Atlanticists and pro-Russian forces. But there is a problem. In these elections, for the first time, the clash between the national and European political interest will be especially strong because the national parties make calculations of their own for these elections, while the candidates at EU level threaten to mess them up. And this is especially evident in the fact that there are two parallel elections for the post of European Commission president going on. One is the democratic one that I mentioned above and the other is the well known behind-the-scenes way in which the highest European posts are always bargained.
The conservative party that has ruled Luxembourg for most of the last 70 years has acknowledged that other parties are likely to form the next government and end Jean-Claude Juncker’s 19-year term as prime minister. Juncker’s Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) has led governments for all but five years since World War Two, but lost three seats in an election on Sunday to leave it with just 23 in the 60-seat parliament. The Socialists, who quit Juncker’s government in July, blaming him for failing to curb abuses of power by the secret service, now look set to form a coalition with a different center-right group, the Democratic Party, and the Greens. The three parties together have a slim majority of 32 seats. Juncker, the EU’s longest-serving head of government, has been a central figure in Europe’s debt crisis, leading the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers until early this year. His departure would be unlikely to herald radically different policies on Europe or on the economy, among the healthiest in Europe.
Europe’s longest-serving leader Jean-Claude Juncker risked losing power in Luxembourg as three rival parties were set to begin negotiations on Tuesday to form a coalition without him. The heads of the Liberal and Socialist parties said a day after parliamentary elections they would open talks with the Green party, a move that could see Juncker’s centre-right Christian Social People’s party (CSV) ousted, despite winning the largest share of the vote. The 40-year-old head of the Liberal Party, Luxembourg city mayor Xavier Bettel, told journalists he had been given a “mandate” to open talks on forming an unprecedented coalition of the three parties. “We need different policies to pull the country out of crisis,” he said.
Voters in Luxembourg are going to the polls as Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe’s longest-serving leader, faces his toughest election yet after 18 years at the helm. The snap legislative elections in the European Union’s wealthiest nation per capita follow a scandal over misconduct by the secret service that fractured the coalition government headed by Juncker’s Christian Social People’s Party (CSV). Its junior Socialist Party (LSAP) partners withheld support when opponents accused the prime minister of having been too busy steering the euro currency through crisis – in his capacity as head of the Eurogroup – to get his dysfunctional intelligence service back on track. Misdemeanours by the SREL secret service, which the Juncker is supposed to oversee, included illegal phone taps, corruption and even dodgy dealings in luxury cars.