EU states agree to keep small German parties out of Brussels | News | DW | 07.06.2018
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EU states agree to keep small German parties out of Brussels

The EU has adopted a new measure to stop Germany's very small parties from gaining seats in the European parliament. "Democracy is dead," one lawmaker proclaimed.

Beginning in 2024, extremely small German parties like the Free Voters, the Pirate Party and the neo-Nazi NPD will no longer be able to gain seats in the European parliament.

On Thursday, EU states agreed on a new restriction rule put forward by three of Germany's major parties: Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD).

Although the decision had been tentatively agreed to months ago, with an eye to making European elections smoother next May, Belgium and Italy had remained as hold-outs. But now the law will not apply until the 2024 vote, due to an EU agreement that does not allow for any changes to be made to suffrage laws within a year of an election.

Currently, these very small parties occupy seven of the 96 German seats in the EU legislature.

"Operation successful. Democracy is dead," said European lawmaker Arne Gericke of the Free Voters, while Carsten Sawosch of the Pirate Party argued that the major parties were simply dismissing "millions of votes in order to get more posts for yourselves."

After 2024, parties will have to cross a 5-percent hurdle in order to gain seats in the European parliament.

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