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News report : 28-07-99


Brussels, 28th July 1999

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Formation of Technical Group of Independent Members rejected



The Committee on Constitutional Affairs, chaired by Giorgio Napolitano (PES, I), has decided by a large majority - 15 votes for, 2 against (TGI and UEN (Union for a Europe of Nations)) and 1 abstention (Greens) - that the statement setting up the Technical Group of Independent Members does not meet the requirements of Rule 29(1) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure.

The majority felt that the fact that this rule says "Members may form themselves into groups according to their political affinities" makes it clear that a minimum of "political affinities" is an essential requirement for the formation of a group. They argued that the statement setting up the group showed that its members themselves believed they shared no political affinity. The statement says that the different components of the group affirm their complete political independence vis-à-vis each other, that no component will speak on behalf of the group as a whole and that the sole purpose of meetings of the group will be to allocate speaking time and settle administrative and financial matters relating to the group. The majority of the committee therefore took the view that the TGI did not meet the requirement for a minimum of political affinities as laid down in Rule 29(1).

The Constitutional Affairs Committee, which is also responsible for matters to do with Parliament's Rules of Procedure, was asked to look at this question when the chairs of all the other political groups in Parliament opposed the formation of the TGI as soon as it was announced. Under Rule 180 the committee's interpretation may be contested by a political group or at least thirty-two MEPs. The matter is then put to the vote in plenary, which decides by a simple majority provided that at least one third of Parliament's component Members are present. In the event of rejection, the matter is referred back to the committee.

Meanwhile the members of the TGI Group have announced that they will table a proposal for an amendment to the Rules of Procedure to enable mixed groups to be set up.

Press enquiries: José Pacheco - tel. 284 34 54;
        email: imprensa-PT@europarl.europa.eu


 
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