Brussels Labour was delighted to
welcome newly elected Jackie Jones MEP to speak at our June branch meeting.
Jackie was elected in May as the Labour Party MEP for Wales. Since there is now
unfortunately no Labour MEP in Scotland, Jackie is the only Labour MEP of a
devolved region in the UK.
Prior to her election, Jackie
taught law at Cardiff Law School at Cardiff University. She then taught at
Bristol Law School, University of the West of England, where she was Professor
of Feminist Legal Studies. Jackie is active in the voluntary sector on Wales on
human rights for many years.
As such, it is fitting that she
will now be working on both the legal affairs (JURI) and women’s rights and
gender equality (FEMM) committees in the European Parliament.
was refreshing to hear from a new voice at the branch meeting, and members were
eager to hear more about Jackie’s plans for her time in Brussels, whether that
be a few months or a few years. Brussels Labour hopes we will hear more from
Jackie Jones in the near future and looks forward to having her as a Labour
At the next Branch meeting on 26 June we will be joined by Professor Jackie Jones, the new Labour MEP for Wales, who will share her thoughts on the recent European Parliament elections and what the next few months might bring as the next parliamentary term gets underway
Where: Foundation for Progressive Studies (FEPS), Rue Montoyer 40, 1040 When: 26 June | 19:30 (Doors open 19:00)
We held our meeting in May on
the first Wednesday after the European elections, giving us an obvious topic of
discussion. Rather than invite in external speakers, we decided to use the
expertise already present in our executive committee, with Frazer Clarke and
David Earnshaw giving an overview of the elections and taking questions from
It was easy for many of us to
feel pessimistic about the elections. Although many excellent Labour MEPs were
elected, including one new face, there was almost an equal number who sadly
lost their seats.
Meanwhile, both the Brexit
Party and the Liberal Democrats successfully portrayed this vote as a proxy
second referendum, with themselves as the parties of Leave and Remain
respectively. Despite the issue of a second referendum not being an EU
competence, this was still a successful strategy for these elections, with the
Brexit Party winning 29 seats, and the Liberal Democrats 15.
However, things look more
positive for us at European level. The Socialists and Democrats remain the
second largest party, with 154 MEPs. At the time of the meeting, it also still
seemed possible that Frans Timmermans could be nominated as the next Commission
Unfortunately, since the
meeting, the outlook has changed. Last week, the European Council not only
chose not to nominate Timmermans as the next Commission President, but decided
against nominating any of the lead candidates of the political groups. Instead,
they nominated Ursula von der Leyen, German defense minister, for the top job.
This decision has been
presented as a victory for either Macron or for Orban, depending on your
source. However, whoever engineered this, the rest of the council approved it,
save for Angela Merkel, who abstained. This could cause difficulties for the
lead candidate process in the next elections. Of course, it is not a done deal;
the European Parliament will decide whether to approve von der Leyen later this
In this meeting, we also
discussed a branch submission to the National Policy Forum. The discussion was
led by Jos Gallacher, who is the Labour International CLP representative on the
National Policy Forum. Jos proposed a submission to the economy, business and
trade commission, which is currently consulting on democratic public ownership.
There were lots of excellent
ideas from members in the meeting. If you’d like to find out more about the
National Policy Forum or this particular submission, don’t hesitate to get in
touch with the executive committee.