Thursday, September 08, 2005
Given the tendency of British parliamentary media coverage to focus on Westminster and neglect other places, you may be unaware of a significant achievement this week by a British Liberal Democrat MEP.
Chris Davies, leader of the British Lib Dem group in the European Parliament, has succeeded in getting all five British group leaders to put their signatures on a call for greater transparency in the EU's Council of Ministers. Their letter to the Times was published on Tuesday.
This is not only a remarkable display of unity, but draws attention to the fact that the Council is the only legislature in the world (apart from those in Havana and Pyongyang) to make some of its decisions in secret. While the EU takes a lot of flak in the British media, it is worth pointing out that this state of affairs is entirely the fault of the member state governments that comprise the Council, not the European Commission or Parliament (background here).
Apart from the Times, the only national media coverage for this story was in Tuesday's Guardian and BBC News Online.
The limited press coverage for Chris's initiative may in part be due to the fact that the British media found the activities of one his fellow Lib Dem MEPs much more interesting. Liz Lynne has been making a big fuss about an altogether different form of exposure.