|Author (Person)||Banks, Martin|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.37, 11.10.01, p6|
THE European Court of First Instance has been accused of discrimination against small Parliamentary coalitions after it upheld a decision to disband the Technical Group of Independent Members.
The 19-strong TDI, which consists mostly of right-wing MEPs such as Jean-Marie Le Pen of the French National Front but also includes left-wingers, such as Italian former commissioner Emma Bonino, was formed following the 1999 elections.
It was immediately branded an "unholy alliance" by UK deputy Richard Corbett who claimed it was set up to obtain financial resources, speaking time, and other facilities that are not available to 'non-attached' MEPs. Soon after the elections, the Parliament dissolved the group and the TDI appealed.
After a two-and-a-half year wait for the case to be heard, its appeal was dismissed on Tuesday last week. The TDI now intends to appeal to the European Court of Justice, which can, in theory, overturn the ruling of the Court of First Instance.
One of the group's members, Belgian MEP Karel Dillen, of the right-wing Vlaams Bloc, reacted with fury at the court's decision. He said: "It is a very sad day for democracy when smaller political groups like ours are not allowed to operate. We see this as a form of discrimination."
He added: "We shall now explore the possibility of re-forming under another name but, whatever happens, we will appeal to the European Court of Justice." Corbett, the Socialist group spokesman on constitutional affairs, said: "I am delighted by the court's decision. This group had no political affinities whatsoever but still enjoyed the same Parliamentary resources as those groups that do. It consisted mostly of far-right MEPs who didn't have enough members to form a group on their own. They decided to circumvent Parliamentary rules by forming an alliance with others with whom they had little or nothing in common."
The European Court of First Instance has been accused of discrimination against small Parliamentary coalitions after it upheld a decision to disband the Technical Group of Independent Members.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|