Marriage of the ECR and EPP?
Gloriana Ranocchini, party leader of the Occoronian Democratic Party:
'Ladies and Gentlemen,
I convened this meeting, as we have a serious problem. Rumors are going around that the European People's Party will merge with the European Conservatives and Reformists.
Mr. Keith, as you are elected as party leader, and as you are responsible for the survival of the EPP, I speak directly to you.
The Occoronian Democratic Party has always been a faithful supporter of the European People's Party. If we would ever see that our faith in your party is used, and even abused, to arrange things behind our back, we will draw our conclusions. I would like you to lay all your cards on the table. The time for whispering is over. Now, it's time to speak clearly, openly, truthfully and honestly. If you act in the interest of the EPP, in the interest of the European Union, in the interest of the European citizens, you have nothing to fear to give your opinion and to defend yourself.
The Occoronian Democratic Party stands for European integration, but we don't want European federalism. We want to care for our citizens and we believe we can do that better within the European Union. We don't agree with the party manifesto of the ECR. Contrary. We will never be a part of a Eurosceptic party, we will never be a part of a conservative party, we will never be a part of the ECR!
Every man, every woman in this room is working for the EPP with heart and soul. They defend the principles of our party every day again. Do you want betray them? Months and months again, we worked all together to put our stamp in European politics. Do you want to betray us? At the foundation of the EPP, a party manifesto was drawn up. Do you want to betray it? I trusted you to bring peace in the EPP and to make it great again, after the foundation of the EFP. Do you want to betray me?
Mr. Keith, it's up to you. Or you deny this rumors, and we can continue our successful cooperation. Or you confirm this rumors and you know what the consequences are. I prefer the first way, but if you don't, so be it.
Anatoly Keith took his turn to speak.
"Ms. Rannocchini, thank you for your speech and for calling this meeting. I'd like to reiterate here that there has been no official plans made for a merger, nor has there been any contact with the ECR's leaders over such a matter. However, the possibility of a merger or some other form of arrangement with the ECR has been a personal thought of mine, and I was hoping before this was dropped on me by the Premier Commissioner to consult EPP members before, if we agreed to do so, entering talks with the ECR and then officially doing any deal."
"Let me first say, however, that the EPP is, at heart, a centre-right conservative party, despite the broad views of our constituent parties. We believe, generally, in taking care of our cultures and traditions, in the free market, in national sovereignty, and in the cutting of wasteful bureaucracy in European politics. And so do the ECR- they are more right-wing than us in general, yes, but they are certainly not the Eurosceptic wingnuts that the EFP's agents make them out to be. I would say that we share more with them than with the EFP, and certainly more than the socialist parties."
"Hence why I have been contemplating a merger with the ECR, and hearing the EFP denounce the idea repeatedly in the Council has only made me contemplate this further. In a way, it would be like their creation- who would've thought that the supposedly diametrically-opposed Kligenberg and Liszckoszi would be able to forge a whole new party, and a fairly centralised and unified one at that? A merger would see us create a new Right to deal with the EFP's challenge, a broad spectrum of parties all united in a common, general, centre-right interest for the good of the EU."
"And we will not be 'a part of the ECR'. The merger I have been thinking about is one that would leave everyone equal within the merged party, and to that end we have to consider our respective sizes. And like with the EFP, any manifesto would have to be agreed on by most (if not all) parties and would focus on what is shared in common. So let us have an open mind when we contemplate this possibility, and consider the benefits of a merger, which I do feel probably outweigh the drawbacks."
((Just for a point of reference, the EFP was certainly not a merger of the EPP and ELDL, it was an entirely whole new party. We did not force any party under the EPP or ELDL to join us. Secondly, I would like to point out that the Libertarian Parties in the EPP actually have more in common to the EFP (a Libertarian Europarty) than the ECR. ))
"Mr. Keith, I appreciate your honesty, although I regret the fact that I wasn't informed about your ideas before.
I understand you if you say that we have a lot common with the ECR, and we are indeed both right-wing parties. But once upon a time, the EPP and ECR were founded as two separate parties, and I think there is a reason for that. Some things in our manifesto are common with the ECR, but some are not. I think we have to agree that the ECR is more right-wing than we are.
That's the problem. During the last elections, the Occoronian people vote more in favour of left, than in favour of right. The ultra-right Conservatives didn't even make it until the elections. I really want to make the same mistake as they did. We have always been a people's party, and I don't want to drive away my voters.
The EPP has a serious problem, I know. We have to struggle for our life, as the EFP is becoming the greatest Europarty. We can't deny this any longer. I think the solution for these problems is not to become more right, the solution is to convince more nations and more parties to join us. Of course, sometimes, we can cooperate with the ECR, but I think we can also cooperate with the EFP. The EFP is a party like any other party, it shouldn't be a taboo to cooperate with them? I think we have to stay where we are, to become again the large 'people's party' we've always been."
"I certainly do not deny that the EFP has become the largest Europarty, and I feel that a merger with the ECR would be a good way of responding to that. We would be injecting new ideas into the party, and thus restoring our status as a broad collection of parties from across the centre-right, and as the true main alternative to the EFP. And that is the issue with the EFP- we may hold certain principles in common with them, and I certainly applaud the bipartisan efforts between our and the EFP's Councillors, but essentially they are the first party in this Union, and we are the second- our role, if we are to retain our position and identity, is to provide a distinct and proper alternative to them. That way, surely, we will be able to really set about swaying parties to us and getting ourselves elected to the Commission."
"True, we have been two different parties before, but that was in a different era with different challenges. We have, broadly speaking since all Europarties are broad churches, some differing stances, but I don't think they are so insurmountable that we couldn't fit in one Europarty. And as regards Occoronian politics, despite my relatively limited knowledge thereof compared to you, I would point out that membership of a certain Europarty shouldn't affect a single party's policy, nor should it affect whether that party is in Occoron's best interests. Not to mention how public opinion swings, and the Left might not be so strong in your next election."
"I recognise that this would be a bold step for the EPP- but I feel that's what we need. A bold step that would consolidate the Right in one strong bloc with a current base in both Commission and Council, imbue us with new members and ideas, and allow us to provide the strong and active alternative this region needs."
I totally agree that one party may not influence the course of the EPP. That?s why I convened this congress, to discuss this matter in a proper, democratic way. I only gave my opinion, as you gave yours. The other parties can chose which opinion they like, or give an alternative one.
You can?t create a healthy party by just merging two dying parties together. You have to do more efforts than that. This isn?t a bold step at all, this is an unnecessary and dangerous step. Why has the EFP more success than we have? Only because they're more left-wing than we are? Maybe there are other things? Maybe there are other things we can do to turn the tide? Maybe we should organize more party conferences, so members are stimulated to give their opinion? Maybe we should convince other members to join us to create more activity? I think this will be more useful than move into the ECR.
As I am a very great proponent for democracy, I would like to hear the opinion of other party leaders as well.
"Please, let's clear this up first. We are not 'mov[ing] into the ECR'. That's casting this idea in negative terminology, and doesn't take into account the fact that we are larger and more established than the ECR, and so, were it possible to consider our parties as singular blocs, 'we' would most certainly have more influence than 'them'. Anyway, firstly I reject the notion that either the EPP or the ECR are 'dying'. True, neither we nor they are as successful as the EFP, and both are probably in need of some revitalisation, but I think a merger could provide at least some of that revitalisation."
"What I feel is lacking in this Europarty is ideas, simply enough. We have a vague view of where we are, but to distinguish ourselves from the EFP and establish the platform on which we shall fight and hopefully win elections, we must have a clear direction. The first cause to deliver ideas is leadership, and that I am happy to provide. The second cause is strength in depth, and I believe that by accommodating the ECR into our family, we would not only be removing an opponent on the Right, but we would also be providing that strength in depth that we need. Indeed, there is an argument that in light of the changing membership over the past year or so, with the loss of Italian members and the rise of the EFP, we have perhaps been lacking in ideas on the Right of the party, and a merger would help to redress that balance."
"Furthermore, I think a merger would help recruit more leading parties to us- we would for one have all the ECR-minded new parties coming to us, and also we would have a strong base with which to press on, revitalised, and recruit more members who would otherwise be EFP-inclined. I would also call on other members of this Europarty to give their opinions."
You?re absolutely right. The EPP is indeed larger and more established than the ECR. So, why do we need their help? I don?t have any problem with the ECR ?moving? into the EPP. In that case, however, ECR-members have to understand we defend our own ideas, also if these ideas aren?t theirs. Talking about merging however, is talking about two (almost) equal parties, that take the decision to unite. That means that both parties have an influence on the result of that merge. In this case, it means that the ECR-EPP coalition will become a right-wing party (at best), and not a centre-right party as it is now, and as it should be in the future.
I fully agree if you say we have to strengthen the (centre) right-wing, but not like this. We still have a future, with our own ideas, in our own party. I don?t really understand how a party with only a few active members, will help us to recruit more members for the ECR-EPP coalition party? How can they help us to become the centre-right European 'people's party' again? And did you say 'new ECR-minded' parties? There are only a few (active) ECR-minded parties left, and I don't think there are any indications this will change...
But, as I said, I?m a real ?Democrat?. Can other parties please give their opinion? Maybe the members of the ECR can also say something about this matter, as we're talking about their future as well?
"I meant new EU member nations, who come to our region with a right-wing party in power which may be inclined to choose the ECR over us. A merged party would be the obvious port of call for any right-of-centre governing party which enters this Union. And the terminology does not mean that we would unite as equals- it simply can't override the fact that the EPP is quite a deal larger than the ECR is, and as much as I'm discomforted by the dichotomy of 'EPP' and 'ECR' policy, the merged party would naturally be more 'EPP' than it would be 'ECR'. It would certainly be a lot closer to them moving into our party than you seem to think. I do not believe either that we would cease to be a centre-right party, and the idea of us becoming 'right-wing at best' seems to be predicated on the notion, which I am sure is false, that the ECR is an extreme far-right party."
"And this would strengthen us. As I have said, it would create a monopoly party on the Right in the EU, and the active members the ECR does have would provide ideas that would help our efforts to become the true 'people's party' and make us more attractive than the EFP for new and existing member states' parties. Simply put, I can't see much if any reason why not to pursue a merger with the ECR."
"I say once again that a merge with the ECR would be a dangerous and unnecessary step, and even a mistake. It seems the nation?s parties prefer a more ?left-wing? view on the future of the European Union. Isn?t it a little bit strange than to become more ?right?? I agree that we are larger than the ECR, so in a logical case the coalition party would be more like the EPP than like the ECR. But you can?t deny a merge with the ECR will cause a small move to the right. And that?s absolutely not what we need. The past made clear that radicalization is never the right solution, how small that radicalization is. I don?t think the Catholic Church got thousands of new members because the Pope became more radical as a reaction to the drain of the churches. Contrary.
I think we should start about convincing other European parties of our opinion. Not by becoming more 'right': however small this step may be, it?s a step too much. And how can a merge with the ECR be successful, as we don?t even success to agree within the EPP as it is now? Within the EPP, there are a lot of opinions, as it should be in a democracy, but what can we do with even more opinions? Maybe we should first of all think about more involvement of the EPP-parties in the European Union, by encouraging discussions, maybe during a weekly meeting. I think this will be more useful for the future of the EPP. I think there is no reason at all to pursue a merger with the ECR."
"Ladies and gentlemen.
We talked enough. I think it's clear there are two different opinions about this. We both gave our arguments, we both explained our opinions. Now, it's time to choose. As it is not my goal to destroy the EPP, contrary, I want to strengthen it, I propose to give every member of the European People's Party the chance to vote for or against a merge with the ECR. At the end of the voting period, we'll see what will happen. I hope Mr. Keith will agree with my proposal, or at least consider it."
"Well, I suppose we ought to bring this to a vote- but I'd just like to say that we have to define ourselves boldly to set ourselves as a strong alternative to the EFP, and I believe a merger would go a long way to helping us do that. This isn't a question of 'radicalisation', it's an opportunity for us to redefine our stance and redefine European politics as a whole- like Thatcher and Attlee in the United Kingdom did. But, of course, the choice is for the party as a whole, so let us vote."
"The question is: Should the EPP leadership approach the ECR to suggest, and enter into talks over, a merger between the two parties?"
"The Democratic Party of Angleter votes YES."
We cannot associate with the ECR as they have a fascist party (the Fascist Movement of Monogolia in Exile), and its equivalent in our nation is the fascist Frente Nacional (National Front).
If the fusion is done, we would have no choice but leaving the party.
Our vote is NO
President of the Liberal Party, Northern Caesarea
((OOC: The unlikeliness of any explicitly Fascist parties surviving the merger aside, no such party exists on the ECR's membership lists.))
Here is an example of fascist party in the ECR:
-MONOGOLIA IN EXILE: Fascist Movement (Christine Perkins)
The Occoronian Democratic Party votes NO.
I would like to do an appeal to the other members of the EPP:
Ladies and gentlemen: please VOTE. I don't say this to look for support for my own opinion, but I think we have to agree this desicion must be supported by the largest possible amount of EPP-members.
This is about the future of our party, if you don't say your opinion about one of the most important events in the EPP's history, we can't take it into account!
The Pan-Duxburian Party votes YES
To form a bigger tent against the EFP and PES. We don't want to see the EPP become uncompetitive in European politics. The ECR is hardly radical anyway, this nation acted like an ECR nation through several administrations. Their viewpoints are really not too much farther right than ours. We would like to have a party that represents the broad right spectrum instead of the narrow current position.
QUOTE (Northern Caesarea @ Oct 25 2011, 02:01 PM)
Here is an example of fascist party in the ECR:
-MONOGOLIA IN EXILE: Fascist Movement (Christine Perkins)
((OOC: Yes, but there's no such party as the fascist Frente Nacional from Northern Caesarea in the ECR. I'd suggest you change your reason for voting no to "they've got a Fascist party", which would at least be factually correct.))
(OOC: Ok, edited)
((OOC:When will the voting period be closed?))