EU elections: Galician Euro-MP's seat denied in 'Florida Style' recount, disillusionment elsewhere
Dépêche de Eurolang

Publié le 9/07/04 16:07 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

by Davyth Hicks

Following a recount at the end of last week Euro-MP and Galician language campaigner Camilo Nogueira (Bloque Nacionalista Galego –EFA) is to be denied his seat in the European Parliament.

The final recount of the Central Electoral Committee gave the seat to the Spanish conservative Partido Popular (PP) leaving them just one seat (24) behind the governing PSOE (25).

The Basque, Catalan and Galician coalition, Galeusca, and BNG have lodged an appeal against the decision by the election committee. The Galeusca coalition is left with only two MEPs , Ignasi Guardans of the Catalan Convergencia i Unió and Josu Ortuondo of Partido Nacionalista Vasco. Esquerra Republica Catalunya, who sit with the EFA, stood on a separate ticket with Bernat Joan I Mari winning a seat.

Immediately after the election the PP were more than 5,000 votes away from getting the last seat on the night of the elections, the votes from abroad closed the gap considerably, but not enough to give the seat to the conservatives.

In a joint declaration, EFA leader Nelly Maes and Green leader Monica Frassoni said: "Serious questions must be asked about the 'Florida style' counting procedures favoured in Spain by the Partido Popular which have denied our colleague Camilo Nogueira his seat in the European Parliament by a narrow margin.

"We have serious concerns about an election system which allows a recount to take place without supervision by all interested parties. We find it odd, to say the least, that the definitive result should be published without a response having been made to the representations put forward by the BNG.

"The fact that all of the ballot papers have now apparently been destroyed further undermines any credibility in the system, making a recount impossible.

“This is certainly not the end of the matter. Should the BNG now decide to take the matter further and seek legal redress they will certainly have the full support of the Green/EFA Group."

Galeusca have announced that they will contest the verdict, thus bringing the case to the Supreme Court of Justice.

Meanwhile EU election results in western Europe have left other communities with a feeling of indifference and disillusionment.

In Scotland Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) chief Domhnall Martin told Eurolang that, “I don't think we are going to see much difference. In the last EP, the outgoing members from all the parties in Scotland were very supportive when we made representations to them on the Charter, the Legal Act and the EBNER Report. Professor Neil McCormick was very supportive and kept us informed on happenings in the EP on minority language issues.

However, when we did a survey of all the parties in the euro elections to ascertain the level of support for Gaelic, Scots, Charter and a Legal Act, we only got responses from the Lib Dems and the SNP”.

Many language communities and ‘national minorities’ are included in vast artificial regions which render them invisible at EU level. One example is Cornwall where disillusionment prevails and where it is included in a huge artificial eurosceptic region to which few in Cornwall relate, and which renders Cornish votes moreorless invisible.

Speaking to Eurolang Pol Hodge, Cornish language teacher and activist, said: “Europe is irrelevant for Cornwall because any Cornish concerns are lost in a vast south west region dominated by the London parties. With Cornwall having no voice or representation in euro-politics the anglo-centric media have poisoned many against all the good that has come from Europe.

Dick Cole, leader of Mebyon Kernow- the Party for Cornwall, said: "I am very disappointed in the results of the euro-election, which saw a great increase in support for the eurosceptic UKIP, whipped up in no small amount by scaremongering on immigration and asylum seekers. The Green Party was the only party to campaign for a Cornish Assembly during the election, but their campaign was not helped by the unwillingness of local newspapers to even cover the election."

Mr Cole added that "Cornwall now as no direct voices to speak for it in the European Parliament. The Conservative and UKIP MEPs wish to focus on centralising powers in London to the detriment of Cornwall, while the Lib Dem and Labour MEPs are opposed to the campaign for a Cornish Assembly."

The addition of Gibralter into the British ‘south west region’ also gave the election a sense of unreality for the Cornish and raises questions about the UK’s arbitrary manner of constructing European constituencies and regions.

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