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The game of musical chairs is starting to take shape. Ahead of the May 2014 European elections and the political nominations that will follow (Commission presidency, appointment of new commissioners, etc), many outgoing MEPs have already made it known that they will not stand for re-election. A first overview follows.


In the EPP, former Prime Minister of Belgium Jean-Luc Dehaene, who will be 74 in 2014, is calling it quits. Corien Wortmann-Kool (Netherlands) seemingly does not plan to stand for re-election. Former EP President Hans-Gert Pottering (Germany) is also stepping down. Although nothing will be announced officially until negotiations for the formation of a governing coalition have concluded, David McAllister (Lower Saxony) is expected to lead the CDU list.


Germany's Dagmar Roth-Behrendt will not be returning to the EP. In France, all members apart from Patrice Tirolien would like to serve another term, including current Education Minister Vincent Peillon. None of the Maltese MEPs plans to return to the EP. The seven candidates on the PL's provisional list (for six seats) include none of the four current MEPs.

The UK has already drawn up its lists. Of the 13 outgoing members, seven have a good chance of being re-elected since they lead regional lists (Richard Howitt, Linda McAvan, Arlene McCarthy, David Martin, Claude Moraes, Derek Vaughan and Glenis Willmott). Mary Honeyball and Catherine Stilher, both second on lists, also stand a good chance, while Michael Cashman, Stephen Hughes, Brian Simpson and Peter Skinner will not be returning. Richard Corbett, a well known face in Parliament who lost his seat in 2009, is second on the list for the six seats to be filled for Yorkshire and Humber.


Also in the UK, but for the Liberal Democrats: Sharon Bowles, Fiona Hall and Rebecca Taylor are not standing for re-election. In Germany, Jurgen Creutzmann, Wolf Klinz and Silvana Koch-Mehrin do not intend to serve another term. Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, another member of the FDP delegation, has announced that he plans to stand in Greece. Alexander Graf Lambdsorff is being mentioned as the head-of-list, rather than Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who expressed an interest in an EP seat but cannot be rewarded with a term after his party's decisive defeat in the federal elections of 22 September. Lithuania's Leonidas Donskis will not be returning to the EP. Surprisingly, Antanas Guoga, better known as "Tony G" in the world of poker, is a candidate. He does not head a list and the Liberal party for which he is standing does not expect to win more than one seat, but with the preferential voting system, the doors of the EP may still be open for him.


Among the Greens, Co-Chair Daniel Cohn-Bendit is leaving politics altogether. He has nevertheless said he wishes to support his peers in the campaign in France and at European level, focused on Jose Bove and Rebecca Harms, the probable tandem candidates for the Commission presidency. French Green members Helene Flautre, Jean-Paul Besset and Yves Cochet do not plan to return to the EP, nor will German members Werner Schulz and Franziska Katharina Brantner, Sweden's Carl Schlyter or Spain's Raul Romeva i Rueda.


Several British Conservatives from the ECR group will not returning to Parliament: Malcolm Harbour, Struan Stevenson, Robert Sturdy, James Elles, Giles Chichester and Robert Atkins


The dean, Jean-Marie Le Pen (NI, France), who will be 86 in 2014, will not stand for re-election, announced his daughter, the president of the far-right National Front.

In Belgium, the European elections will be held alongside two national elections. This is not expected to influence turnout to any great extent since voting is mandatory in any case. In France, the European election will follow two rounds of local elections (23 and 30 March), raising concerns not only that there will be high abstentionism on 25 May but also that parties will delay in drawing up their lists. There is a danger that the European lists may only be finalised after the local elections to give the losers a chance to win an EP seat. The French Socialist Party, not wishing to give voters the impression that a seat in the European Parliament is a second choice, as MEP Sylvie Guillaume explained, has just set a deadline. Candidacies must be declared for 21 October and lists will be validated by the party's national investiture board, on 7 December.


At the European Commission, it is already possible to predict which members have no chance of being reappointed due to changeovers of political power: Joaquin Almunia, Olli Rehn, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, Laszlo Andor and Andris Piebalgs. Michel Barnier will certainly not be presented by a Socialist government for a commissioner's portfolio but he may return as a potential candidate for the Commission presidency for the EPP. Legislative elections in Luxembourg are scheduled on 20 October and the outgoing Christian Democrat party may be re-elected, giving Viviane Reding an opportunity to return. She is also being mentioned as an EPP candidate and could even replace Barroso. Karel De Gucht plans to leave European politics, as do Catherine Ashton and Herman Van Rompuy.


Outgoing European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has already announced that he will step down at the end of his two terms of two and a half years each.
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Publication:European Report
Date:Oct 14, 2013
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