Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - European Parliament Elections.

Wednesday, 27 March 1974

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 271 No. 7

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[901]26.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the views of the EEC Council of Ministers in relation to direct election to the European Parliament; the form of democratic representation he envisages for Ireland; and the general powers which will be granted to the Parliament.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The EEC Council of Minister has not had to express any view in recent times about direct elections to the European Parliament. With regard to the remainder of the question I would refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 13, Dáil Debates of 20th February, 1974, on European union.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  If the proportional representation that we have at the moment is reduced will the Minister then use his veto on such a scheme?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Deputy is talk-of the the non-proportional representation we now enjoy, having 5 per cent of the representation with 1 per cent of the population.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  If that percentage is not maintained?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  If there were a proposal which envisaged changing that and it did not contain compensating arrangements, for example, for a bicameral system with an Upper House with equal representation for states it would, of course, be unacceptable to us in this country.

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  As the only view I have ever heard in this House was that a direct form of election would be best, does the Minister not agree that it might be better for us to act off our own bat rather than react to what others might do? Let us go ahead and set up the machinery for this form of democratisation. Would he not agree that direct elections would be better than the present system?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I think we would all like to see that. There are technical difficulties, however, because the form of the wording of the Treaty of Rome is such that until there is unanimous agreement on direct elections by all [902] the countries the form of the representation must be such that those elected are members of the parliament of their own country. Therefore, if we had direct election and people stood who were not Members of this House and were elected they could not take their place in the parliament. That, unfortunately, is the wording of the Treaty of Rome and, therefore, we must, I think, put our main effort into seeking unanimous agreement on direct elections throughout Europe.


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