Question to: Patricia McKenna
Issue: Civil rights, data protection and political participation
Question sent by

Ms McKenna,

If elected with which grouping in the European Parliament do you see yourself joining?

Reply from
Patricia McKenna

Dear ,

Thank you for your optimistic question and I do hope that this will be a decision I will be making in the next few weeks.

As member of the European Parliament for ten years I know only too well the ╦ťhorse trading" etc. that goes on after the election results come in. Going by past experience, I feel that I will be able to take my pick when it comes down to joining a group. All groups bend over backwards to get new members and members from as many member states as possible in their groups as both these aspects are taken into account when it comes to the parliament giving out extra resources, chairs of committees, special positions in parliament, etc.

What group I actually decide to join will be based on the political ethos of the group itself. Although MEPs have the freedom within their group to deviate from the group position I would like to be part of a group that is closest to my own political beliefs. Within some groups there are separate factions. For example, within the GUE/NGL group - the faction is the Nordic Green Left; within the Greens/EFA group - the European Free Alliance, which is a regionalists faction including parties such as Plaid Cymru. There are also other groups such as the IND/DEM group, of which Kathy Sinnott is a member. In the past the independent Dana was a member of the EPP, the group that Fine Gael is a member of. So at the end of the day this will be a decision that will be made after the election. Furthermore no one even knows if all the current groups will survive after the election or change in some way. This happened with the Green group which was at one time a faction of a rainbow group made up of three separate factions, later they became a group on their own and currently they are a group of two factions. Some of these changes are due to the number of returning Green MEPs after the elections.

The issue of big groups verses small groups in also interesting, as there are advantages to both. I remember in the past some Fine Gael colleagues telling me I was lucky to be in a small group as got a lot more opportunities in relation to drafting reports, speaking in parliament, etc. as within in the big groups unless you have an extremely high profile you get lost in the group and the high profile MEPs get all the opportunities. On the other hand the big groups do have much more voting power and more senior positions within the parliament. Personally I like to work within a smaller group as I would have a lot more freedom.

As I have been an MEP in the past I do have the added advantage of knowing exactly what the political ethos of all the current groups is and if they still survive after the elections I will be in a position to make what I consider will be the right choice.

All the best,