German smallest parties such as freie wahler, pirates and NPD are to have no chance of entering the european parliament from 2024 at the latest. On the initiative of the CDU, CSU and SPD, the EU states agreed on the introduction of a new barring clause.
The aim is to ensure that parties with low single-digit election results in germany do not win a seat in the european parliament. They currently occupy 7 of the 96 german seats in the european parliament.
Actually, the blocking clause was supposed to have been passed months ago in order to ensure that it could be introduced without problems before the european elections on 26 september. May of the coming year. Countries like belgium and italy, however, recently delayed the decision process for weeks.
Implementation as early as the 2019 elections has now been postponed, according to the current EU council presidency, in contravention of the european code of conduct for elections. The guidelines of the council of europe’s so-called venice commission, in fact, stipulate that there should be no more fundamental changes in electoral law in the twelve months before an election. If the federal government complies, the blocking clause, which is supposed to be between two and five percent, will not be used until the 2024 election.
There was initially no clear statement from the federal government on the subject. The head of the german CDU european deputies, daniel caspary, however, spoke out in favor of applying the blocking clause as early as the 2019 election. The corresponding legislative procedure has been underway for two years and therefore comes as no surprise, he said on the fringes of a meeting in munich. Therefore, there is no violation of the annual rule in the european code of conduct.
Other supporters of the blocking clause argue that the code of conduct is not legally binding. In addition, it could be argued whether a minimum threshold is a "basic element of the right to vote," it says.
At the same time, it is acknowledged that the time until the election is short. Before implementation, the blocking clause still has to be approved by the EU parliament and then transferred to german electoral law. "Whether the minimum wage will be introduced in germany depends on the legislative process in the german parliament," commented SPD member of the european parliament jo leinen.
Despite this, there is sharp criticism from the smallest parties. "Wanting to drop millions of electoral votes under the table just to get yourself more posts – that’s unconscionable," commented the federal chairman of the pirate party, carsten sawosch. His party is already preparing legal action against the decision.
Member of the european parliament arne gericke (freie wahler) commented: "operation successful, democracy dead."Out of concern for seats and fear of the afd, the CDU, CSU and SPD are now boxing against the small ones "in a political coup de main".
In addition to the pirates, the free voters and the right-wing NPD, the planned change to the EU electoral law could affect, for example, the ecological democratic party (odp) and the party of satirist martin sonneborn. They all made it into the european parliament in the 2014 election because the federal constitutional court had shortly before removed the three-percent hurdle in the german european election law without replacement.
The blocking clause violates the principles of electoral equality and equal opportunities for parties, the ruling said at the time. In contrast to the bundestag, stable majorities are not so important in the european parliament.
The constitutional court thus contradicted the argumentation of the mainstream parties such as the CDU and SPD, which justify their advocacy of a blocking clause in the european elections with the fear of a fragmentation of the eu parliament. In order to circumvent the sphere of influence of the federal constitutional court, the blocking clause is now to be introduced via EU law.
The smallest parties have criticized the reform project, particularly in view of the rulings of the federal constitutional court. The parties also argue that the danger of fragmentation is low because the members of smaller parties very often join a group that roughly represents their political views. Currently, for example, five of the seven german individual mandate holders are members of one of the major EU parliamentary groups. In addition, the blocking clause was designed to affect only germany and, with restrictions, spain. It is about a "lex germania", commented european deputy gericke.
European deputy and satirist martin sonneborn reacted with derision. He is surprised that the SPD supports the reform, he told the parliamentarian of the german press agency. His "one percent party" and the SPD were recently separated by only 16 percentage points in the polls. "I think the social democrats should see that a five percent increase can be quite high," he added.